|Image from espn.com|
Buccaneers: TE Tom Crabtree (ankle), G Carl Nicks (foot)
Jets: DE/OLB Quinton Coples (ankle), QB Mark Sanchez (right shoulder)
Buccaneers: CB Rashaan Melvin (hamstring)
Buccaneers: RB Mike James (eye), RB Erik Lorig (calf)
Jets: DT Kenrick Ellis (back), WR Santonio Holmes (foot)
Buccaneers: T Demar Dotson (back), CB Darrelle Revis (knee)
Jets: No, the Jets listen 17 players as probable. I'm not going to listen them. That's completely ridiculous. Just know, everyone other than the above Jets are definitely active today. I'm already angry at them...
Well the NFL season is closing in on us out in Jets world, and I'm not sure we're all terribly excited. This whole season is going to be brutal, and we're getting off to a rip roaring start here. I listed the Buccaneers as the #8 team in my Power Rankings, but with a major caveat. If Josh Freeman plays like he did at the end of last year, when he seemingly forgot how to play football, Tampa is not going to make it to the playoffs. If he plays like I think he is capable of playing, then the rest of the team is so strong that it's impossible to not like them. Since I can't exactly predict the future, I'm putting all my eggs in the "Freeman plays well" basket. Call me crazy.
The problem for the Jets actually has nothing to do with Freeman. It's Tampa's defense. Last season, the Buccaneers ranked first in the league in run defense. Yeah. So the already questionable duo of Chris Ivory and Bilal Powell now has to contend with an elite run defense. Tampa did lose defensive end Michael Bennett to the Seahawks, who was their best run defender, but still, Gerald McCoy, Adrian Clayborn, Lavonte David, and Dashon Goldson are all great at stopping the run. The rest of them are good, but those four are phenomenal.
You're probably now saying, oh that's fine, just pass the ball.
Wait, you're serious?
Okay, take a break while I attempt to quell my anger.
I'm back, and I'm here to tell you that there is no chance in hell the Jets can beat the Bucs in the air. Rookie Geno Smith is starting his first career regular season game, and look at who he has to throw to. I'm talking about Hobbled Santonio Holmes, if he even plays. Jeremy Kerley is fine, but then there's the legendary Stone Hands Hill. Oh I'm not done, Clyde Gates, who last year in a game against Miami caused me to angrily tweet about him.
Hold on while I find it.
Here it is. See, I didn't even know his name.
There's also this. And this. And this (continued from the last one).
The point of playing find that tweet from 350 days ago is to illustrate how bad Clyde Gates was at route running last year. Hopefully he's improved because, really, it was awful. He's super fast and has some potential. I just don't know if he can ever reach that potential.
Normally, the best option with a rookie QB is to run the ball, but unfortunately, the Jets can't do that. And other than Revis and safety Mark Barron, Tampa's secondary has some holes, but those are not holes that the Jets can exploit.
I hope I'm wrong, but I don't see any scenario in which the Jets pull this one out.
Buccaneers (-3) over JETS.
Buccaneers 27, Jets 10.