Today's Free Picks for
Posted Sunday at 9:25 AM EST
1:00 PM EST. The season opener may have been Week 2 for everyone else for the Bucs it was an easy Week 1 victory over the Bears. We’ve heard the words blowout, toyed with, won easy and flattering in regards to Tampa’s win over Chicago last week. Combine that with Sam Bradford being out again and what we have is a big overreaction to both. Tampa Bay was not that good in Week 1. The offense looked stale and mostly lucky but was able to capitalize on four Chicago turnovers in that 29-7 victory. What not many realize or saw was that the Bears were in the red zone four times in the second half and instead of kicking FG’s, they went on fourth down each time but one because they were 29 points behind. Tampa Bay was an opportunistic offense and that game did nothing to prepare them for a tough road game in Minnesota.
Case Keenum is not a terrible replacement for Bradford. Dalvin Cook was held to only 64 yards last week but he was only given 12 carries in the big loss to the Steelers. That said, there is a big difference from playing in Pittsburgh against the Steelers in that atmosphere to playing at home against the Bucs. And while all the prognosticators and public want to talk about is Sam Bradford being out, we’ll slip in that the Buccaneers will be without three top names on defense against the Vikings. Starting defensive tackle Chris Baker and defensive end Jacquies Smith did not make the trip to Minneapolis because of the flu. Both players missed practice all week due to the bug, which has been going around the Bucs' locker room. They were listed as "doubtful" on the final injury report Friday but were downgraded to "out" on Saturday. Starting middle linebacker Kwon Alexander has already been ruled out due to the hamstring injury he suffered last week.
Keenum didn’t play well last week, which also influences the market. However, Keenum actually has defeated the Buccaneers each of the past two seasons. Throughout his journeyman career with 25 NFL starts, he has succeeded most in those two games against Tampa Bay in which he boasts a combined 118.8 passer rating and 2-0 record. Almost a year ago to the day when Keenum replaces Sam Bradford in the Vikings huddle, Keenum led the Rams to a 37-32 win over the Buccaneers. He was dropping dimes on them all day.
Minnesota has faced Drew Brees and Ben Roethisberger while Tampa has faced Mike Glennon, at home no less. Glennon can't escape a rush, crumbles under any sort of pressure, has an elongated windup on every throw he makes and he's risk averse to a fault. That the Buccaneers are favored here is bordering on ludicrous. Lastly, we promise you that every single person in that Vikes locker room knows the betting line and it can be a motivating factor to be sure. The Vikes are being very disrespected by the market and media and probably can’t believe it themselves that they are a dog at home to Tampa Bay. Wrong side favored.
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MINNESOTA +110 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.20)