Our Picks of the Week take advantage of early hype, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (with special guest Flavor Flav)

Friday, 14 September 2018 14:08 EST

DonOverreaction week? You bet! Thanks to outlier performances in week 1, NFLbets counted about a half-dozen teams as overrated based on a single win: Most importantly for our purposes were the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but also the Baltimore Ravens, Denver Broncos, Washington and the Cincinnati Bengals.

Admittedly, yours truly took the Bengals for chumps and Cincy instead made NFLbets the chumps on F@^%@^%ing Thursday Night Football. But we’d dare to suggest that not one of the aforementioned teams will be making the playoffs except Cincinnati, who are pretty clearly playing in the league’s worst division this season.

Not only this, but of the teams between by the aforementioned six in week 1 (the New Orleans Saints, Buffalo Bills, Seattle Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts) perhaps one – the Saints from the wacky NFC South; we’ll see what they do against the Cleveland Browns this week – is a serious playoff contender.

In short, let us say that the 2018 Tampa Bay Buccaneers just aren’t that good. NFLbets’d go so far as to say that the current line of Philadelphia Eagles -3½ at Tampa Bay is bulletin board material for the Eagles. (Why ae the sportsbooks trolling the defending champs so much? They collectively must like Nick Foles even less than NFLbets does…)

Who are these Buccaneers?

One of *the* headline stories of week 1 was the masterful 417-yard, 4-touchdown show put on by Ryan Fitzpatrick against the New Orleans defense which appeared to have reverted to 2016/early 2017 form. A closer look at Fitzpatrick shows no one you’ll be wanting to wager on when facing an above-average side.

Don

Last season, “Fitzmagic” was 2-1 SU/ATS in starts, with ATS wins against the New York Jets and Miami Dolphins. For the Jets in 2016, he was just 3-8 SU/ATS in starts, winning ATS at the Jets, at Buffalo and against the ultimately 8-8 Ravens. Even in 2015, his last full season as a starter, Fitzpatrick's 10-6 SU record falls to 7-7-2 ATS, with just a 1-1-1 mark ATS against playoff teams that year. Yikes.

Setting Fitzpatrick aside, as the Buccaneers are likely to do in favor of the flawed Jameis Winston, a consideration of the Tampa Bay offense doesn’t exactly wow despite the 42 points last week.

All of the “skill players” who contributed more than 10 total yards in week 1 – Peyton Barber, Mike Evans, DeSeaon Jackson, O.J. Howard, Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries – are holdovers from last season, when the Bucs were 18th in points scored and 26th in turnovers surrendered. Blame as much of that as you’d like on Winston, but the truth is that Barber wasn’t enough to keep the Buccaneers rushing in the bottom five or six in most statistical categories.

As for the Tampa Bay defense, well, you saw last week’s outcome, right? A Foles-led offense will hardly score the points that Brees and his Saints are capable of, but we figure Jay Ajayi should do enough damage alone against a Buccaneers D that was dead last in yardage allowed in 2017.

It all adds up to a pragmatic choice for the NFLbets Picks of Week 2: Take the Philadelphia Eagles -3½ at Tampa Bay and, as always when low-watt offenses play in inclement weather, take the under on an O/U of 44 points.

And for those who have forgotten about letting a single game run away with sanity, we’ll put in an old classic with a salient message here. Enjoy!