Week 2 NFL Preseason Picks: Tennessee vs. Tampa Bay: August 17th 2012
Week 2 NFL Preseason Picks: August 17th 2012
Tennessee Titans vs. Tampa Bay Bucs
Current line: Tampa Bay (-3/37)
Tennessee takes on Tampa Bay at 7:30pmET from Raymond James Stadium on Friday night. The Titans are coming off losing at Seattle, 27-17, getting 3, while Tampa Bay defeated Miami on the road, 20-7 as a 3-point dog. These two teams met in the regular season last year, with Tennessee (-3/44) winning, 23-17.
Weather: 81 degrees, 30% chance of Thunderstorms.
The Titans are coming off a 9-7 SU season, they were 7-9 ATS and 6-10 Under. Last year, they went 2-2 ATS in the preseason. Mike Munchak, in his second season, is 3-1 SU, 1-3 ATS and 1-3 Under in preseason. Tampa Bay is coming off a disappointing 4-12 season, they were 4-12 ATS and 10-6 Over. Last year, they went 3-1 ATS in the preseason and Greg Schiano is a brand new coach.
Outlook: The Titans are looking for an improved season, but first, they need to find a quarterback. The Titans need a big season from RB Chris Johnson, who has been all talk and no show since his 2,000-yd season in 2011. The Titans also have issues at WR where Kenny Britt (knee) might be suspended due to another off-the-field incident. The defense was 24th against the run last year (128.3ypg). They add LB Zach Brown, a second-round pick from North Carolina and DT Mike Martin.
QB Jake Locker is set to make his first-ever start at the NFL level. If it goes well, it could be the first of many for the Tennessee Titans’ young quarterback this season.
When Locker leads the Titans’ offense out on the field for the team’s Week 2 preseason clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium, he’ll have the opportunity to separate himself from veteran incumbent Matt Hasselbeck in the tightly contested battle to be Tennessee’s main man under center. Head coach Mike Munchak announced on Monday that the 2011 first-round draft pick would begin Friday’s contest and run around 20-to-25 plays, with Hasselbeck taking over afterward.
Locker may have nudged slightly ahead in the race with a solid showing in the Titans’ 27-17 loss at Seattle last Saturday, with the 24-year-old completing 7-of-13 passes for 80 yards over three second-quarter drives. Hasselbeck, on the other hand, threw two interceptions — one of which was returned for a touchdown — while hitting on 5-of-9 attempts for 45 yards in the longtime Seahawk’s first appearance against his former team since joining Tennessee as a free agent prior to the 2011 season.
Greg Schiano comes over from Rutgers to take over for Raheem Morris in Tampa, who was fired. He needs QB Josh Freeman to improve on a season where he threw 22 picks. They added a lot of pieces in the offseason including WR Vincent Jackson and OG Carl Nicks. Their defense gets better with the additions of DT Amboi Okoye and CB Eric Wright. Miami adds Philbin from the Green Bay Packers, who replaces Tony Sparano.
The revamped Buccaneers will be attempting to build off a good effort in their initial outing under Schiano, a 20-7 road victory over Miami this past Friday, and resume a close competition of their own at the running back position.
LeGarette Blount, Tampa Bay’s leading rusher the last two seasons, is trying to hold off a challenge from rookie first-round selection Doug Martin for his spot on the depth chart. Both backs performed pretty well against the Dolphins, with Blount rushing for 30 yards and a touchdown on seven carries and Martin amassing 21 yards and a score on his seven attempts.
Freeman was sharp out of the gates for the Bucs, connecting on 4-of-5 passes for 41 yards and leading the offense on a 13-play, 59-yard drive on his only series. Wide receiver Vincent Jackson, the club’s most notable free-agent acquisition during the offseason, did not have a catch in his Tampa intro, however.
Another highly-regarded Buccaneers rookie, linebacker Lavonte David, came up with an interception in Friday’s win. The second-round selection is part of a modified defense that also includes 2012 No. 7 overall pick Mark Barron, who’s been cleared to start at safety for this week’s matchup after sitting out the Miami game with a sprained toe.
Key Injuries: Tennessee: C Eugene Amato (tricep) is on the IR. WR Kenny Britt (knee) is out indef. LB Gerald McRath (knee) is ? Tampa Bay: TE Dallas Clark (rest) is being held out. DE Da’Quan Bowers (Achilles strain) is out indef. WR Arrelious Benn (knee) is out indef. Left tackle Donald Penn (calf) is out. CB E.J. Biggers (broken foot) is out.
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