Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Arizona Cardinals
Date and Time: Sunday, September 18, 2016, 4:05 p.m. ET
Location: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ
Week 2 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Check Back Later
Buccaneers vs. Cardinals TV Coverage: FOX
The Dirk Koetter era in Tampa Bay got off to a nice start with Sunday’s win over the Falcons. The team’s offensive coordinator last season under former head coach Lovie Smith was hired for the top job because of his relationship with Winston and his ability to further develop the budding star and No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft. His guidance has apparently paid off. With Winston running the show, management felt the team had the pieces to be a high-scoring offense. That wasn’t the case last season under Smith, who has a reputation as defensive guy.
After a less than spectacular preseason in which they won only one game, the Cardinals were saying all the right things. The veteran group didn’t need to win the exhibition games they just needed to get ready for when the real games started. Well, they weren’t ready. Arizona seemingly caught a break in its opener, going against the Patriots who were without Tom Brady. Taking on a seldom-used backup, the Cards couldn’t contain Jimmy Garoppolo and a missed field goal cost them a chance at a victory. It was a game that many experts had the Cards winning handily with the line going to -9 by kickoff. However, Arizona continued an alarming trend when playing at home, falling to 1-7 ATS in its last eight at University of Phoenix Stadium.
Matchup To Watch
Maybe the Cardinals took their game with New England too lightly knowing that Brady wasn’t in the building. How else can you explain that disastrous showing? Bruce Arians admitted that his team was outplayed by the Patriots, yet they were still a field goal away from winning the game. Of course, many felt it shouldn’t have even come to that. So, the Cards were left searching for answers and they will find them against the Buccaneers.
Arizona’s defense struggled against backup Garoppolo and New England’s game-planning, which gave the young quarterback opportunities on quick tosses and a running game that softened up the Cards. The Pats picked on rookie cornerback Brandon Williams, who blew a coverage on New England’s first touchdown. The former tailback at Texas AM earned the starting job because of an injury to Justin Bethel. That play turned out to be one of the biggest of the night for the Cards, who surrendered just one other touchdown.
With the first NFL game out of the way, expect Williams to flash the brilliance that made him a starter after just two years of playing corner. He’s a talent and will be tested by Winston and the Bucs after what happened Sunday night. Look for Williams to not make the same mistake thinking he had safety help over the top and allowing the New England receiver a free path to the end zone. Williams and Patrick Peterson on the other side will make throwing deep balls a risky proposition for the Tampa Bay.
Buccaneers vs. Cardinals Free Picks
It’s hard to imagine the Buccaneers having a better record than the Cardinals, but that’s where we stand after the first week of play. Tampa Bay overcame a shaky start by Winston, but he still managed to throw four scoring passes in a win over the Falcons. The Bucs haven’t been the best bet on the road, but this isn’t the same Bucs team. Koetter has instilled a new attitude and the offense can be potent.
It’ll be a chore to beat Arizona, however. The Cards are coming off a loss in which Arians wasn’t pleased. His star-studded defense caved to Garoppolo and they couldn’t come up with a stop. But facing the Bucs is a different story. Winston has proven to be inconsistent and that was the case last week. When he’s good, though, he’s very good. Look for the Cards to apply more pressure, stop the run game, and not make costly mistakes. If that’s the case, Arizona should have no problem covering the odds at BookMaker.eu.
Buccaneers vs. Cardinals Week 2 ATS Pick: Cardinals
Buccaneers vs. Cardinals Score Prediction: Cardinals 35, Buccaneers 24