Tampa Bay Buccaneers-San Francisco 49ers: Times staff predictions for Sunday's game

Published Oct. 22, 2016

Tampa Bay Times' Bucs picks

Greg Auman, @gregauman Tampa Bay 31-21

Bucs don't always do well out west, but don't often get to face a defense this bad. Even third option Jacquizz Rodgers should be able to run on the 49ers. Carlos Hyde's injury puts a big burden on Colin Kaepernick to try to do it all. Expect Bucs takeaways.

Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics San Francisco 27-20

The 49ers are one of the weaker teams in the NFL, but the Bucs haven't proven they're much better. Case in point: Two weeks ago, they needed a last-second field goal to beat a Panthers team that turned the ball over four times. Tampa Bay has lost five straight games out West and 15 of its past 20.

Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly San Francisco 23-20

It's a key moment in this season. The Bucs have a shot at reaching .500 against a truly bad 49ers team. The Bucs should quietly be able to beat the 49ers, even without Doug Martin or Vincent Jackson. That said, they'll need to find a way to lose. And they will.

Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you Tampa Bay 17-14

The Bucs again turn to conservative play calling and opportunistic turnovers to eek out a victory. If it worked at Carolina on a Monday night, there's no reason it can't work on a Sunday afternoon against a San Francisco team that possesses far less talent than the defending NFC Champions.

Tom Jones, @tomwjones Tampa Bay 26-20

There's no reason to think the Bucs should win this game. It's on the West Coast, where they never play well, and they're beat up. Yet, I think Jameis Winston and Mike Evans have huge days and figure out a way to best a lousy 49ers team.

Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud San Francisco 28-20

The Bucs may be the better football team. But they are a battered football team. Down to their third RB. No Vincent Jackson. Traditionally they don't play well on the west coast. Even if Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald are back, who knows how diminished they will be. And 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick has a game under his belt. He just hasn't played a lot of football. But he will have the ball in his hands a lot Sunday and that seems like trouble for the Bucs.