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NFL Betting: Bucs, Jaguars Play An Interconference Game In Backyard Territory

Posted by Stan Simmons on 8/6/2014 10:28:50 PM

After two very different offseasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars will take to the field Friday night, trying to develop the kind of rhythm that will lead to a good start to the upcoming regular season. Growth and development will be the buzzwords in Florida.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Jacksonville Jaguars – Friday, August 8

Sports betting line: Jaguars -1

Why Tampa Bay Will Win

This is a situation in which the Buccaneers are likely to win. The starting quarterbacks, Josh McCown for the Bucs and Chad Henne for the Jaguars, are fairly even. However, everyone knows that backups, and especially backup quarterbacks, matter a lot in the preseason, at least as far as the ultimate outcomes are concerned. Backups play critical stretches of a game and are on the field when the third and fourth quarters run their course. In this contest, Tampa Bay backup quarterback Mike Glennon is a lot better and more proven than Jacksonville’s number two quarterback, Blake Bortles. It’s true that Bortles could eventually become a star in the NFL. He has a great mix of arm strength and natural speed. Bortles could very well make plays with his legs when he doesn’t see anything available as a passer. This could be a reason to take Jacksonville. However, a first NFL game, even if only a preseason game, is likely to present a level of speed that Bortles is just not going to be ready to handle. It should be expected that Bortles will not handle this situation well. More specifically, the Buccaneers’ strength is exactly on their defensive line. Tampa Bay has been good at that part of football for a few years. It’s been in the other areas of the defense and in just about all of the offense where the Bucs have lagged. Bortles is probably going to get demolished by Tampa Bay’s pass rush, and that’s probably where this game will be decided.

Why Jacksonville Will Win

When you look at this game, you will concede that Tampa Bay has a better second-string quarterback, but the Buccaneers might be a little complacent just because they know they’re a little more settled at that position. Glennon started several games last season, so he knows his place on an NFL roster is fairly secure. It’s a little bit different with Bortles, who wants to be able to prove himself and make sure that his career gets off to a good start. In addition to what’s been said about Bortles, Chad Henne, Jacksonville’s starter, has a lot to prove in his own right. He’s stumbled through much of his NFL career, and he wouldn’t be able to be a starter for many other teams in the league. The Jaguars, as a group, have more to play for in this game. Teams that have been the laughingstock of the NFL for a number of years are the teams that generally try harder and find more value in preseason games.

Who Will Win

The idea that Jacksonville will play harder than Tampa Bay is a reasonable one, but the Buccaneers, under first-year head coach Lovie Smith, will be very happy to play this game after the nightmare they endured under former coach Greg Schiano, whom they didn’t like at all. Tampa Bay will be in a very good frame of mind for this game, and it will make a difference.

NFL Betting Pick: Bucs +1


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