Friday, June 15, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 1: NFL preview capsules

Packers at Jaguars, 1

Line/OU: Packers by 5; 471/2

There's no shortage of optimism for Jacksonville's future after an offseason that revamped the roster with shrewd draft picks and expensive free agents. But while losing teams rebuild, winning teams reload. The Packers have done that with the return of Jordy Nelson, the team's top WR, who missed last season because of injury. There has been much conversation around RB Eddie Lacy's offseason weight loss.

Raiders at Saints, 1

Line/OU: Saints by 1½; 51½

The Raiders have built a team that seems on the verge of big things, thanks to LB Khalil Mack, who is the rare type of player who single-handedly changes games. His 15 sacks last season felt like the beginning of something special. Oakland is also strong on offense, with QB Derek Carr having built a strong rapport with WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, and Latavius Murray has shown flashes of brilliance at RB. The Saints will be a threat as long as QB Drew Brees chooses to play, especially when they are at home, but there is little reason to believe they suddenly know how to play defense.

Bills at Ravens, 1

Line/OU: Ravens by 3; 44½

The Bills showed some promise for a bright future last season, but the team failed at the thing coach Rex Ryan is known for: quality defense. Ryan brought in his brother Rob to help right the ship, and while the preseason was not all that encouraging, Week 1 could see some improvement as two rookies are expected to start on the left side of Baltimore's offensive line.

Chargers at Chiefs, 1

Line/OU: Chiefs by 6½; 44½

Whether Jamaal Charles is ready to return from the knee injury he endured last season hardly seems to matter in the short term as Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware are more than capable of piling up rushing yards against San Diego.

Bears at Texans, 1

Line/OU: Texans by 6; 43½

Brock Osweiler might or might not succeed as a starting QB in the NFL — the Broncos certainly seemed skeptical when they let him walk away despite not having another experienced QB on the roster — but everyone is sure that at 6 feet 8, he is very tall. Coach John Fox's Bears also have a lot of questions in terms of ability, and are not nearly as tall.

Vikings at Titans, 1

Line/OU: Vikings by 2½; 40½

Anyone clamoring for Sam Bradford to start, or come on in relief, for Minnesota this week might be overestimating the difference between him and Shaun Hill, but either QB can probably manage enough offense to fend off a Titans team that has some promising pieces but is a long way from being dangerous.

Browns at Eagles, 1

Line/OU: Eagles by 3½; 41

The Browns were so sure that Carson Wentz was not a viable solution at QB that the team traded away the No. 2 pick in the draft rather than select him. It will be very awkward if his first game as a rookie quarterback results in a win over the Browns.

Bengals at Jets, 1

Line/OU: Bengals by 2½; 42

At full strength, the Bengals are a better team than the Jets, but they will play without standout LB Vontaze Burfict, who is suspended for repeated violations of the league's safety rules, and star TE Tyler Eifert, who is recovering from offseason ankle surgery. The Jets, meanwhile, begrudgingly retained Ryan Fitzpatrick after a franchise-record 31 TD passes last season. The addition of Matt Forte, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, to the running game should help balance the offense.

Dolphins at Seahawks, 4

Line/OU: Seahawks by 10½; 44½

Olivier Vernon left for New York, Cameron Wake is working his way back from an Achilles tear and Ndamukong Suh seemed far less dominant in his first season in Miami. But even with those things all being true, a strong game from the Dolphins' defensive line against a vulnerable Seattle offensive line is the best hope of this game not being embarrassing.

Lions at Colts, 4:25

Line/OU: Colts by 3; 50½

Calvin Johnson's surprising retirement not only left the Lions without their No. 1 WR, it will also force a trial by fire for Golden Tate, who thrived as Detroit's No. 2 last season but may have been benefiting greatly from Johnson's presence. As Detroit contemplates a post-Johnson world, the Colts are mostly hoping QB Andrew Luck can put his health concerns behind him.

Giants at Cowboys, 4:25

Line/OU: Pick; 46½

The good news for Dak Prescott, a rookie who will begin the season as the Cowboys' starter because of a back injury to Tony Romo, is he can hardly do worse than Romo's backups did last season when they were 1-11 in place of the Pro Bowl QB. The even better news is he might not be asked to do much, as Dallas' impenetrable offensive line should have a fairly easy time opening wide holes for rookie RB Ezekiel Elliott.

Patriots at Cardinals, 8:30

Line/OU: Cardinals by 6; 46

It will take time to determine if it was wise for New England to trade Chandler Jones to the Cardinals, but in Week 1, it will almost assuredly haunt the Patriots. The linebacker will be wreaking havoc as part of a stout Arizona defense that will try to make life miserable for Jimmy Garoppolo, New England's backup QB who has been forced into a starting role because of Tom Brady's suspension. The Patriots have to hope Garoppolo can win at least two games in Brady's four-game absence.

Steelers at Washington, 7:10 Monday

Line/OU: Steelers by 3; 49½

Steelers WR Antonio Brown and Washington CB Josh Norman, both All-Pros, will face off for the first time since 2014 when Norman was with Carolina. Pittsburgh RB Le'Veon Bell is serving the first of a three-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Washington's Kirk Cousins has thrown 232 regular-season passes at home without an INT.

Rams at 49ers, 10:20 Monday

Line/OU: Rams by 2½; 42½

The Rams, playing their first game as a Los Angeles franchise since leaving for St. Louis after the 1994 season, have won just one of their past eight trips to San Francisco. There will be several other firsts: Rams QB Case Keenum will start the first season opener of his career, and Chip Kelly will coach his firstirst game with San Francisco. 49ers QB Blaine Gabbert will start his first opener since 2013 with Jacksonville.

Times wires

Comments
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow pleads not guilty to kidnapping, rape charges

Times wiresVISTA, Calif. – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was jailed without bail Friday after pleading not guilty to nine counts of kidnapping, rape and other charges.If convicted on all counts, Winslow, 34, could face...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

Bucs still don’t know when Jameis Winston will throw another pass that matters

TAMPA — The last pass thrown by Jameis Winston in a regular-season game was his best. The perfectly arced, 39-yard strike to Chris Godwin for a touchdown with nine seconds left gave the Bucs a 31-24 win over New Orleans at Raymond James Stadium...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

Bucs busy on next Ray-Jay renovation with East Stadium Club

The first Bucs home game of the 2018 season is still three months off, but the franchise is busy getting Raymond James Stadium ready with the fourth phase of its $160 million renovation, highlighted by a new East Stadium Club.Construction continues t...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Gerald McCoy sounds off

The Bucs wrap up minicamp as Gerald McCoy sounds off on the team getting help for him, defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at the veteran defensive tackle and advice for the young players who now have five weeks off before training camp.Plu...
Published: 06/15/18
Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

Gerald McCoy: ‘Stop saying Gerald got help. No, the Bucs got help’

TAMPA — On the last day of minicamp, DT Gerald McCoy made it clear that the new additions to the defensive line are what the entire team needed, not just himself."It's not about me. It's about the team," McCoy said of the addition of five new l...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

Bucs hit summer break with optimism, eager for training camp

TAMPA — This week's three-day minicamp was the final push in the Bucs' offseason, with about six weeks now until the team reconvenes in late July for training camp and the real preamble to the 2018 season.So what, if anything, can be gleaned fr...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

Maybe 2018 is the year the Bucs take that step forward

TAMPA — The Bucs wrapped up a three-day minicamp on Thursday.“I’m going on vacation,’’ Bucs coach Dirk Koetter said.The next time we see the Bucs will be in five weeks. Just around the corner. That’s when, official...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18
Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Ex-Buc Kellen Winslow arrested on suspicion of rape, kidnapping

Times wiresSAN DIEGO – Former Bucs and Hurricanes tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. was arrested Thursday on suspicion of multiple sex-crimes-related charges, including two counts of rape, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.The departmen...
Published: 06/14/18
Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

Sealed and delivered: Bucs RB Ronald Jones signs rookie contract

The Bucs' 2018 draft class is now all in the fold, with running back Ronald Jones, second-rounder from USC, signing his rookie deal Thursday.Jones, who won't turn 21 until August after the Bucs go to training camp, was the last of Tampa Bay's eight d...
Published: 06/14/18
Gerald McCoy: Relax, Buckner yelling is just ‘coaching’

Gerald McCoy: Relax, Buckner yelling is just ‘coaching’

A video clip last week showed new Bucs defensive line coach Brentson Buckner yelling at Gerald McCoy after he was drawn offsides during practice, and the Pro Bowl defensive tackle made it clear on Thursday: There's nothing in any way wrong with that....
Published: 06/14/18