The Denver Broncos will take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. This matchup features two teams trending in opposite directions. The Broncos are a perfect 3-0 to start the season, while the Buccaneers have played wildly unbalanced football sputtering to a 1-2 record. The game will kick off at 4:05 PM. ET.
Before the season, prognosticators viewed Trevor Siemian as a “game manager” that would hand the ball off to the running back then ride their elite defense to victory. Through the first two weeks, that was the case. Then there was week three: Siemian completed 23 of 25 passes for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Most importantly he had zero interceptions.
Siemian gave fans a glimmer of what the Broncos offense looks like at full throttle. The offensive explosion was thanks to Siemian’s big play receivers finally getting involved in the offense. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas combined for 15 receptions, 217 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
Trevor Siemian’s poise in the pocket has been huge for the Broncos thus far. In week three, Simian hung in the pocket, avoiding pressure, and connected with Sanders down field for a 19-yard reception. On that play, Siemian received strong pass protection in the pocket. Siemian looked for Sanders 13 times down field. Siemian and Sanders look to have great chemistry and Sanders is quickly establishing himself as Siemian’s favorite target.
Time and again, Siemian has shown great pocket awareness. In week three, Siemian had an extremely courageous touchdown pass to Thomas. Siemian was under tremendous pressure, however, he stood in the pocket and delivered a strike to Thomas while getting crushed by the blitzing defender. The play resulted in a 55-yard touchdown.
It’s never easy replacing a legend. Replacing a legend for a defending Super Bowl champion? That’s impossible. And, yet Siemian appears calm and focused. The rest of the league may need to ask itself, are the 2016 Broncos with Trevor Siemian as quarterback better on offense than last years Super Bowl team?
But Siemian cannot do it all. Going into week four, the Broncos will need to establish the run early. Last week, C.J. Anderson struggled to consistently run the ball. He averaged a pedestrian 2.6 yards. In fact, Denver as a team struggled to run the ball. The Broncos rushed for a mere 52 yards. It was the first time this season that the Broncos failed to eclipse the 100 yards rushing mark. Denver will try to bounce back against a Buccaneers defense that surrendered 137 yards and two touchdowns to Todd Gurley and company in week three.
It shouldn’t be a factor in week three, but overall, Denver needs to worry about their run defense. Last week, the Broncos struggled to stop the Bengal’s rushing attack. The Broncos defense gave up 143 yards on 29 carries. They also surrendered two rushing touchdowns. Fortunately for Denver, the Buccaneers have struggled rushing the ball all season. Doug Martin is out with an injury. In his place, the Buccaneers will start Chris Sims. In week three, Sims rushed for 55 yards and a touchdown. If the Buccaneers have any hope of pulling off the upset, then they’ll need huge production out of Sims.
While the Broncos run defense is anything but a liability, the fact remains that it’s Denver’s only legitimate weakness. Clearly, the Buccaneers offense lacks balance. If Tampa Bay cannot run the ball to take some of the offensive burden from Winston, then he’ll struggle mightily with more turnovers. The Buccaneers over-reliance on Winston has resulted in six interceptions through the first two weeks. Denver’s defense is going to get after Winston, so expect that total to rise.
Buccaneers Vs Broncos Betting Lines
Denver is the defending Super Bowl champion for a reason. The Broncos aren’t going to look past an inferior opponent. Tampa Bay is going to have to pass the ball and Jameis Winston will have to throw into the teeth of Denver’s defense: it’s secondary. Expect more interceptions this week. Pick Denver to easily cover.
Play: Broncos -3 @ BetOnline.ag