Strong Defense in Buccaneers vs. Jaguars Influences NFL Pick

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, August 6, 2014 1:09 PM UTC

Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2014 1:09 PM UTC

The Jacksonville Jaguars and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are both led by defensive-minded coaches, which will lead to a low-scoring affair in a matchup of Sunshine State combatants.


Smith is Back in the Fold
Lovie Smith took a year off from football after leading the Chicago Bears to a 81-63 regular season record from 2004-12, as he was named the 10th head coach in Tampa Bay Buccaneers history on Jan. 2, 2014.

Smith has gained a reputation for being one of the best defensive minds in football, as his units led the league in takeaways during his time in the Windy City, which is important to consider when making your NFL predictions each week.

The Buccaneers expect to make some noise on this side of the football, considering coordinator Leslie Frazier spent the last three full seasons as the Minnesota Vikings’ front man.


A New Look
Many NFL experts expect Jacksonville to be a dangerous underdog this season, as it has signed 10 new free agents since the arrival of head coach Gus Bradley last year, with seven of those players having postseason experience.

The Jaguars are expecting big things from their defensive line with the additions of Red Bryant and Chris Clemons—two players that Bradley is excited about due to his background of being a past defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks.

Clemons is going to be a handful in the AFC South during the 2014 campaign, as he ranked tied for 12th in the entire league with 38 sacks over the last three seasons.


Tedford is Keeping Things Tight
Former California Bears head coach Jeff Tedford will be calling the plays for the Buccaneers, with Smith bringing in Josh McCown to be the starting quarterback, but backup Mike Glennon has shown signs that he’s ready to lead the offense has well.

McCown has certainly been a journeyman signal-caller since landing in the league in 2002—spending his last three seasons in Chicago—throwing for 1,829 yards and 13 touchdowns with just a single interception in eight games (five starts) in 2013.


Banged up in the Backfield
The Jaguars will determine Toby Gerhart’s availability after Wednesday’s practice, as he’s sat out the past few days with a leg injury.  He spent the previous four seasons filling in for Adrian Peterson in Minnesota.

NFL handicappers are unsure if Gerhart can become a legitimate every down back at this level, but he still holds the school record with 671 carries during his time at Stanford.

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I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their Week 1 NFL preseason predictions, as both defenses will be ahead of the opposing offense in this affair, especially with the Jaguars intentions of giving rookie quarterback Blake Bortles plenty of playing time.

It’s also important to keep an eye on the weather, as forecasts suggest a 60 percent chance of thunderstorms and game-time highs in the low-90s.

Free NFL Pick:  Under 36.5 at Pinnacle Sports

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