Cleveland Browns (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 0-2 O/U) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0 SU, 0-0 ATS, 0-0 O/U)
NFL: Saturday, August 26, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. EST
The Line: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3. Total: 42.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cleveland Browns will be back in preseason action when they collide at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa Bay on Saturday night. Cleveland is a perfect 2-0 so far following victories over the Saints and Giants. The Buccaneers have played twice on the road, losing at Cincinnati before beating Jacksonville.
QB decision nears
Browns’ head coach Hue Jackson says he is going to name a starting quarterback this week, likely on Wednesday. It will give the starter more time to prepare with the rest of the first team in advance of a Week 1 showdown against Pittsburgh, and that starter should see plenty of action against Tampa Bay on Saturday. It is coming down to Brock Osweiler, DeShone Kizer, and Cody Kessler. Osweiler made a second straight preseason start in Monday night’s 10-6 victory over the Giants, going 6-of-8 for 25 yards and an interception in two series. Kizer, a rookie from Notre Dame and second-round draft pick, got the most playing time and finished 8-of-13 for 74 yards and took two sacks. He also rushed five times for 35 yards and a score.
“I kind of want to say, ‘Here’s where we’re going,’” Jackson explained. “Whatever decision we make, we make. We’re going to make the best one for the Browns.”
The Buccaneers have much more rest going into this weekend, as they played their second preseason contest last Thursday night. In a 12-8 win over the Jaguars following joint practices between the two teams earlier in the week, quarterback Jameis Winston completed 21 of 29 passes for 196 yards. Winston found 10 different pass-catchers during two quarters of work. Running back Doug Martin scored the team’s only touchdown and finished with six carries for 30 yards plus two receptions for 11 more yards.
As for Tampa Bay’s special teams, there are more questions. In the wake of Roberto Aguayo’s release, Nick Folk has attempted every kick during the preseason. He made field goals of 29 and 35 yards against Jacksonville but missed from 47 and also had an extra-point attempt blocked.
The Cleveland Browns are:
- 5-20-1 ATS in their last 26 overall
- 0-3-1 ATS in their last four road games
- 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven games on grass
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are:
- 6-2 ATS in their last eight overall
- 5-1 ATS in their last six games on grass
- 4-0 ATS in their last four games against Cleveland
Unlike Cleveland, the Buccaneers know exactly what they have on offense. Winston and Martin are off to a solid start, and more of the same should continue on Saturday when they get more playing time and can get into a groove. The Browns are 5-20-1 ATS in their last 26 overall, 0-3-1 ATS in their last four on the road, and 1-5-1 ATS in their last seven on grass. Tampa Bay is 6-2 ATS in its last eight overall, 5-1 ATS in its last six on grass, and 4-0 ATS in the last four meetings between the two teams. Expect those trends to continue.
Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3
Cleveland’s defense excelled on Monday night, and not just because it hurt Odell Beckham Jr. New York managed to churn out only 147 yards through the air and 65 on the ground. The under is 6-2 in the Browns’ last eight overall and 5-1 in their last six on grass. It is also 5-1-1 in the Buccaneers’ last seven overall and 4-0-1 in their last five on grass. Additionally, the under is 5-0 in the last five meetings between the two teams. Look for this one to stay under the total.