Lean Jaguars To Claim Sunshine State Bragging Rights vs. Bucs

Matthew Jordan

Friday, August 19, 2016 3:35 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 19, 2016 3:35 PM UTC

Neither the Jaguars nor Buccaneers play Dolphins at all in 2016. So Saturday night's preseason game in Jacksonville between the Bucs and Jags is for state bragging rights. Jaguars are currently standing at -3 on NFL odds with a total of 40.5. 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Jacksonville Jaguars  

Buccaneers What To Watch For
Tampa's new head coach is Dirk Koetter, who was the team's offensive coordinator last year. He was also an offensive coordinator in Jacksonville -- under then-coach Jack Del Rio (now the head coach of the Oakland Raiders) -- from 2007-11. The Jags last made the playoffs in that 2007 season. New Bucs defensive coordinator Mike Smith, the former Atlanta Falcons head coach, was Jacksonville's defensive coordinator back in '07. The Bucs also have a few other former Jags on the coaching staff.

The Bucs couldn't give Koetter a win in his debut last Thursday as Tampa looked pretty shaky in a 17-9 loss in Philadelphia. Starting quarterback Jameis Winston, whom I believe should have won the 2015 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award over Rams running back Todd Gurley, was 7-for-9 for 97 yards and a 26-yard touchdown pass to Russell Shepard. That was good for a rating of 148.6 for Winston. Last year  as a rookie, his preseason overall rating was just 52.7 and he didn't have a single TD pass.

However, Winston a lost fumble against the Eagles and it led to a first-quarter touchdown. The Bucs also lost a fumble on the opening kickoff, leading to an Eagles TD. Overall, the sloppy Buccaneers turned it over five times and had 10 penalties. Kicker Roberto Aguayo, whom the Bucs traded up for in the second round to draft this year, missed the first extra point of his career after never missing one as an All-American at Florida State (going 198-for-198). Obviously, Koetter wasn't happy about the turnovers or penalties. But the defense, a weak spot last year, played well in allowing just 188 total yards.

One battle to watch on the Bucs is for the No. 3 receiver spot behind Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. The competition is usually between 2015 fifth-rounder Kenny Bell, who didn't play at all last year, undrafted second-year pros Donteea Dye and Adam Humphries or on veteran Louis Murphy. Bell was the guy who fumbled that opening kickoff vs. the Eagles. A good way to be released.

Tampa Bay is 0-1 ATS on NFL odds this preseason and 0-1 O/U.


Jaguars What To Watch For
Jacksonville and Tampa Bay players likely will be tired of each other as they held joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday -- that usually leads to skirmishes.

The Jaguars, my pick to win the AFC South this season, lost their preseason opener 17-13 at the New York Jets last Thursday. But starting QB Blake Bortles led the Jaguars to a 10-0 lead before departing. Bortles was 6-for-7 for 105 yards. New addition Chris Ivory, who is battling T.J. Yeldon for the No.  1 running back spot, carried six times for 26 yards and a TD. Yeldon had four carries for 26 yards. Those guys likely will split carries all season.

Jacksonville's first-round pick this year, No. 5 overall, was Florida State cornerback Jalen Ramsey and he didn't play against the Jets. He's coming off knee surgery that kept him out of all OTAs but was back at practice this weekend so he could play here against Winston, his former teammate, and friend. Winston had lobbied the Bucs to take Ramsey, but he didn't last long enough. Meanwhile, Jags second-round pick Myles Jack, the linebacker out of UCLA, had two tackles on 29 snaps in the first preseason game after taking over for starter Paul Posluszny in the second quarter.

The key position battle to watch on Jacksonville is at left tackle between former No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel, who has disappointed in his three seasons, and free-agent addition Kelvin Beachum. But Beachum isn't even practicing in full yet as the team remains cautious in his return from a torn ACL. Beachum was Pittsburgh's starter at left tackle in 2014 and last year, but his 2015 season ended after six games with the ACL injury. He won't play against the Bucs. Joeckel played well as the starter vs. the Jets.

Jacksonville is 0-1 ATS on NFL picks this preseason and 0-1 O/U.


Series History
Jacksonville leads all-time against Tampa Bay 7-3 in the preseason. They most recently played a game that didn't count in the preseason opener of 2014 also in northeast Florida. The Jaguars won 16-10. That was the first-ever NFL action for Bortles, who was 7-for-11 for 117 yards. Tampa's No. 1 QB back then was Josh McCown and he was awful, having a pick returned for a TD, getting sacked twice and losing a fumble. Winston was still at Florida State. The clubs met Week 5 last regular season in Tampa and the Bucs won 38-31 to end an 11-game regular-season home losing streak overall. Doug Martin rushed 24 times for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Winston threw for 209 yards and a TD. Bortles threw for 303 yards and four scores but had a pick and was sacked six times.


The Jacksonville first team looked very good against the Jets so I lean Jags here. Go 'under' the total. The Bucs are 0-4 ATS in their past four overall. The Jags are 5-2 ATS in their past seven on Saturday.  


Free NFL Picks: Under 40.5 -107
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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