Baltimore Ravens (10-6) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-9)
|Date & Time||Thursday August 8, 2013, 7:30 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -2.5 -- Over/Under: 35
|TV Channel||Stream live sports and ESPN originals on-demand on ESPN+ for only $4.99 a month. Sign up now!|
The Baltimore Ravens and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers open their preseason schedules as they face off on Thursday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are hoping this is the year they get back to the post season as Greg Schiano enters his second year as Head Coach. QB Josh Freeman has another year of experience under his belt, but it is time for him to reach his expectations and in this one we should see rookie Mike Glennon, who has a chance to move up the depth chart. Doug Martin lit the NFL on fire last season and the Bucs drafted Mike James from Miami to help Martin in the backfield, while Brian Leonard, who was a running back at Rutgers under Schiano, looks to get quality playing time as well. Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams may be one of the more underrated wide receiver tandems in the NFL, but they are going to need help and we should see if it will come from Tiquan Underwood, Kevin Ogletree,, Chris Owusu, or someone else. Luke Stocker is the tight end, but Tom Crabtree comes in from the Packers and veteran Zach Miller is in the fold as well.
Defensively, Tampa Bay looks stout up front with Gerald McCoy in the middle and Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers at the ends, but the Buccaneers have plenty of DL’s on the roster to try and get some depth here and some of the names include Akeem Spence, William Gholston, and Daniel Te’o-Nesheim. Mason Foster is at MLB and Lavonte David is on one side of him and Jonathan Casillas on the other, but this game is about the depth and Dekoda Watson, Adam Heyward, and many others will see the field. Mark Barron and Dashon Goldson are hard hitting safeties and superstar Darelle Revis was picked up in a trade from the Jets, but names we will see here are more likely to be Anthony Gaitor, Leonard Johnson, Ahmad Black, Cody Grimm, Myron Lewis, etc.
The Baltimore Ravens are the defending Super Bowl Champions, which puts a target on their backs, but many of the names and faces have changed on the Ravens roster. Joe Flacco is back with a mega contract and Tyrod Taylor is still his backup, but Caleb Hanie joins the fold with his third team in as many years. Ray Rice is one of the premier running backs in the game and Bernard Pierce saw action last season and we will see speedster Bobby Rainey and Anthony Allen get carries. Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones are the wide receivers and with Anquan Boldin gone, the Ravens will look to find depth with Tandon Doos, David Reed, Tommy Streeter, Deonte Thompson, or somewhere else. The Ravens look thin at tight end and I would think they look for help here as Ed Dickson is now the starter.
Defensively, it is tough to imagine a Baltimore Ravens defense without Ray Lewis and Ed Reed but that is what we will see. It will all start up front for the Ravens with Haloti Ngota Arthur Jones, and Chris Canty, while Terrance Cody, Marcus Spears, DeAngelo Tyson and others could start for a lot of teams. Arthur Brown will be Lewis’ replacement at MLB and Elvis Dumervil was brought into the fold and they will play along with Jameel McClain and Terrell Suggs, but for this game expect Nigel Carr, Albert McClellan, Pernell McPhee, Courtney Upshaw and others. Matt Elam was drafted to replace Reed and Lardarius Webb mans one corner spot and Michael Huff and Corey Graham round out the secondary, but for this game it is more about Jimmy Smith, Omar Brown, Chris John, Asa Jackson and the many others the Ravens have on their roster right now.
The reality of it is these aren’t going to be easy rosters to make and both of these Head Coaches are dead serious about winning at all times, but Schiano has the reputation for going all out of every second of every game and that should mean a win and a cover here.