TAMPA, FL - SEPTEMBER 25: Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers runs with the ball during a game against the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium on September 25, 2011 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
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TAMPA - It’s not a stretch that we could be talking about a 3-0 Bucs team.
But we are not. They’re 1-2 and the reasons are glaring.
Outside the Giants game, the Bucs are averaging 13 points a game.
Not nearly enough to get it done in the NFL.
Their running game has disappeared.
Quarterback Josh Freeman now has the worst completion percentage in the NFL at 51.3%.
Yet the Bucs are favored by three points Sunday at Ray Jay.
Reason is simple. Washington is all out of sorts in its secondary.
The only club with a worse pass defense than the Bucs in the NFL is the Redskins.
They have allowed 16 pass plays of over 20-plus yards in three games.
They join the Bucs among the teams sitting at 1 and 2.
This is really a simple way to determine the winner. Turnovers, period.
That’s where the Bucs defense would have an edge, but that edge diminished when DE Adrian Clayborn went on IR.
Without a healthy pass rush and contain at the corners, Redskins Quarterback Robert Griffin III could be in for a big day.
Washington’s offense has scored a league-high 33 points per game.
Griffin has already rushed for 209 yards and three TD’s. He’s thrown for 747 yards, with most of those completions of the short-end variety.
So something has to give here.
Back to turnovers.
The Bucs defense must produce at least two turnovers in this game to win it.
With that said, the offense must convert those turnovers into points.
I’m expecting the Bucs to come out and wing the ball all over the field Sunday.
An early lead would be huge.
Head Coach Greg Schiano and Offensive Coordinator Mike Sullivan have to believe in Freeman for this to happen.
I’m not so sure they have that type of confidence in their veteran QB.
Frankly I’m a little shaky in that department myself considering Freeman called a running play on 3rd and 9 in Dallas last Sunday when his headset malfunctioned.
Free needs to get his head in the game.
He has the tools, now it’s just a matter of getting it done.
TE Dallas Clark should be a primary target this week.
Vincent Jackson should catch at least one bomb.
In the red zone, the Bucs should score six, not three.
I’m also anxious to see how newly acquired WR/KR Roscoe Parrish does Sunday.
Parrish was signed when the Bucs jettisoned Jordan Shipley after his fumbled punt vs. Dallas.
Could be plus. Can’t be any worse than a fumble.
Hopefully this will be an entertaining game, and with any luck, it will be one with the regular referees.
I’ve not gotten off to a great start picking against the spread this season.
I’m 1-2, with the Bucs losing both those picks by a point apiece.
Again, they are a three-point favorite on Sunday.
They are home.
They are a better team than Washington.
So, I’m going to take the Bucs minus the three this week.
TK vs. spread 1-2
TK’s Pick Bucs -3
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.