MNF Preview: Bengals at Buccaneers

WILL JAMEIS BE FAMOUS? OR IS WINSTON DESTINED TO BE THE LATEST QUARTERBACK BUST?

Yesterday we talked about the potential for Marcos Mariota to have a positive impact on the Tennessee Titans this season because of a favorable growth environment. Today, we look at how Jameis Winston might be in much worse shape with the Tampa Bay Bucs.

*Winston's head coach is a defensive guru, rather than an offensive one
*Winston's team has been legitimately awful lately, rather than tanking
*Winston didn't master risk/reward issues in college

Winston was the #1 pick, while Mariota went #2. It will be interesting to see how they develop through 2015. Fans will get their first nationally televised look at Winston as a Buc this week on ESPN's Monday Night Football when they host the Cincinnati Bengals. Let's run our key indicator stats for the matchup...

2014 RECORDS (turnovers, strength of schedule)
Cincinnati: 10-5-1 (even turnovers, #15 rated schedule)
Tampa Bay: 2-14 (-8 turnovers, #29 rated schedule)

Cincinnati was a playoff team, though they were dispatched with fairly easily by the Indianapolis Colts in the opening weekend. Tampa Bay was awful despite having an easy schedule. Remember, the NFC South didn't have any winning teams! Some of that was probably tanking. But...there are issues on both sides of the field. And, it's not like Lovie Smith has a high ceiling. If this were a regular season game, the Bengals would be a short road favorite. Less respect here in a sandwich game after an easy home win over the Giants...but before the dress rehearsal next week.

2014 YARDS-PER-PLAY
Cincinnati: 5.5 on offense, 5.4 on defense
Tampa Bay: 5.0 on offense, 5.5 on defense

The Bengals weren't anything special on a per-play basis. Tampa Bay struggled badly on offense...and now has to break in a guy who tends to force things when he shouldn't. Winston might lift that up a few tenths...but has to avoid turnovers while doing so.

2014 THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS
Cincinnati: 40% on offense, 37% on defense
Tampa Bay: 37% on offense, 44% on defense

Hey Lovie Smith...what happened on third downs?! Normally we're telling you to focus on offense here. But, if Tampa Bay's defense doesn't get any better on important plays....then we're looking at 4-12 as a best case scenario and Smith leaving the franchise at the end of the season. Can Winston play smarter at this level than he did in his final college campaign?

2015 PROJECTED WIN TOTALS IN LAS VEGAS
Cincinnati: 8.5
Tampa Bay 5.5 or 6

We talked about Tennessee having a chance to surge past its projected win total given the comfort zone Mariota will be dealing with on offense. Here, it will be incumbent on Winston to carry a big load in a much tougher environment. He isn't surrounded by great offensive talent, and his head coach doesn't have good offensive instincts. It might be tough sniffing six wins unless the whole division stays subpar again in 2015. Cincinnati's projected to be a Wildcard contender again. Though, the fan base may be about to give up on the Red Rifle. He sure struggles vs. quality opposition at the worst possible times!

LAST WEEK'S RESULTS
Cincinnati (-3) beat the NY Giants 23-10, winning yardage 423-224
Tampa Bay (+3.5) lost at Minnesota 26-16, getting outgained 388-318

Strong showing for the Bengals last week, making this seem like a lame duck spot on the schedule. No reason to crush people two weeks in a row in august! Tampa Bay was outgained by 70 yards. But, in fairness, Minnesota had worked out the kinks a week earlier in the Hall of Fame game. Unfair disadvantage for judging the Bucs' effort.

JIM HURLEY knows that Monday is the most important betting night of the week, even in the Preseason! You can purchase his final decision in this TV tussle right here at the website with your credit card (along with great baseball!) If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453 during normal business hours. The regular season is approaching quickly!

We'll have a couple of days of baseball here in the NOTEBOOK before the NFL Preseason resumes with dress rehearsal action. Those are the most exciting games of August!

Tuesday: MLB Series Preview...Chicago Cubs at San Francisco
Wednesday: MLB Big Game Preview...Baltimore at Kansas City
Thurs-Friday: NFL TV Preview...Detroit at Jacksonville on CBS
Saturday: NFL TV Preview...Seattle at San Diego on CBS
Sunday: NFL TV Preview...Houston at New Orleans on FOX
Monday: MLB Series Preview...Either Washington at St. Louis or San Francisco at the Los Angeles Dodgers

The buzz continue to build...as do the bankrolls of NETWORK clients. Watch yourself win tonight on ESPN...then keep getting "The Dollars of August" all month long with the exclusive "team handicapping" approach of JIM HURLEY'S NETWORK!

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