The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were looking like a potential longshot surprise with the NFL odds after a 2-0 start had fans thinking that the playoffs were possible.
The Bucs had a chance to make a statement when the Pittsburgh Steelers came visiting on Sunday but were put back in their place in a 38-13 loss as 2 point home dogs. The Bucs fell to 2-1 straight up and against the spread with 2 out of their 3 games going under the total. Tampa Bay was outgained 387-303 by the Steelers, who also held a 3-0 turnover advantage. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman had a rough afternoon as he finished with a 67 QB rating with just 5.9 yards per attempt, 3 sacks, and a “pick six” thrown to Brett Keisel, who took it 79 yards.
A Winning Batch
Pittsburgh has now won and covered all 3 of their games with the NFL betting odds despite missing starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who is serving a four game suspension for violation of the NFL’s personal conduct policy. In fact the Steelers were down to 4th string against the Bucs as Charlie Batch had to make the start when 3rd stringer Dennis Dixon went down due to injury last week. Batch passed for 186 yards and 3 touchdowns to spark the win while Rashard Mendenhall continues to impress everyone at Sbg global as he ran for 143 yards and a score against the Bucs.
Off to Cincinnati after a Bye
The Bucs will hit the road after a bye week as they will play at the Cincinnati Bengals on October 10 in a game in which they will be underdogs with the NFL odds. They bye comes at a perfect time as the Bucs are still 2-1 and Freeman can have extra time to heal from a hand injury suffered in preseason. The Bucs and Freeman have shown marked improvement and they look like the third best team in the NFC South after New Orleans and Atlanta.
The Steelers have impressed handicappers with their ability to sustain success with the NFL betting odds despite missing their top three quarterbacks. It is a testament to their pride of organization and the leadership of Coach Mike Tomlin, who has held the squad together through a difficult time.