Tom Brady and the Bucs welcome the Chargers to Florida looking to improve to 3-1 on the season whilst the Chargers need a win to get them back to .500.
Brady and the Bucs have seemingly put their opening night stutter behind them winning their last two game by double digit margins but he still doesn’t look back to his brilliant best and with the absence of Chris Godwin for this one and receiving leader Scotty Miller listed as ‘QUESTIONABLE’ it might be up to Mike Evans to lead the pass catchers this week although he has been very inconsistent to start this season. In the backfield it’s a two headed monster but with Leonard Fournette missing practice with a bum ankle this week it could be Ronald Jones’ opportunity to make the backfield his own. On defense the Bucs are still studs against the run ranking 3rd in the NFL and their pass defense has improved from last year but one consequence of the stout running game is opposing offenses are using their backs as receiving weapons against Tampa who have given up at least 30 yards receiving to a running back in all 3 games this year and with Austin Ekeler coming to town I expect one of the leagues leading pass catching backs to excel in this area today.
The Chargers are an anomaly, one minute giving the Chiefs all they can handle and the next getting beaten by the winless Panthers. They seem to play up or down to their opponents which makes evaluating their true talent a little difficult. On offense it’s definitely an improvement since Herbert has taken the reins but as with all rookie signal callers he’ll make mistakes and it’s not going to be perfect. His arrival has boosted the prospects of Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler though as both have seen an upturn in targets since Herbert got the start vs Kansas. On defense it’s good if not spectacular but the loss of Derwin James has been a huge one for LA.
I like the Bucs in this one, I think they’re finding their feet and Brady is becoming more comfortable in a new offense and quite honesty I can’t place the Chargers right now.
PREDICTION: BUCCANEERS 27 – 21 CHARGERS
BEST BET: Austin Ekeler over 36.5 receiving yards @ 5/6 with SkyBet. 2 point bet.