The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-4) are coming off a win against the New York Jets that saw them down for the entire game to come from behind and win in the final minute. For Week 18, Tampa Bay will Pantheres (5-11) at home.
The Bucs Nation staff has offered up some bold predictions and scores for Week 18 as the Bucs are favored by 8 points againstCarolina this week, according to DraftKings Sportsbook.
Week 18 Bold Predictions
James: Ronald Jones suffered an injury against the Jets last week and was seen in a walking boot at practice earlier this week. That means the Bucs are without both of their top two running backs and will be forced to lean on the legs of Ke’Shawn Vaughn and Le’Veon Bell. Bell played well last week as far as the passing game was concerned and scored the two point conversion to put the Bucs up by four so I expect him to be an even bigger part of the offense this week. Mark it down - Lev Bell gets two touchdowns against the Panthers.
Bailey: The Bucs absolutely wrecked the Carolina offensive line two weeks ago to the tune of seven sacks. Last week, the Saints tallied seven sacks of their own against the Panthers. Even without Shaquil Barrett and Jason Pierre-Paul this Sunday, I think Tampa Bay continues to take advantage of Carolina’s front. The Bucs get at least six sacks, with one being a sack-fumble.
David: I said this last week on the Locked On Bucs Podcast, and I believe I was just a tad early on the prediction. So, here it goes again. O.J. Howard will have two touchdowns in this regular-season finale. Just seems like the right time for Howard to remind everyone of the upside he’s flashed since becoming a first-round pick out of Alabama.
Mike: Tampa’s defense has trailed off on forcing turnovers over the last few weeks, totaling four in the last five games. Turnovers can have a big luck component, but this week feels like the perfect time to establish a good tone for the playoffs. I expect a three-turnover game from the Bucs defense, with two coming from Antoine Winfield, Jr. to put a fitting cap on his breakout sophomore campaign.
Editor’s Pick by Gil Arcia: And here we are. The NFL regular season finale and the Buccaneers are already in the playoffs with the Panthers standing between them and a potential second seed if the 49ers can somehow knock off the Rams. Tampa Bay just needs to take care of business and let the rest fall into place if it is meant to be. With Carolina this weekend the guys hit on a lot of interesting points above, but there is no one bolder than Bailey for Week 18.
Six sacks? I don’t care who they play that’s a statement, and a statement they can carry into the postseason.
I’m riding with Bailey this week. Defense wins you championships, right? Can certainly say that of last season’s Super Bowl run in the playoffs.
Which bold prediction do you like most for Week 18?
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2 TDs for Bell
Six sacks, including a sack-fumble
Howard with 2 TDs
3 TOs from Bucs D (2 from Winfield)
Week 18 Staff Picks
As stated above, Tampa Bay is currently an 8-point via DraftKings Sportsbook. The over/under for the game is set at 41.5. Here are the staff picks and score predictions for this week’s game between the Bucs and Panthers.
Gil (13-3): Bucs, 24-10
James (12-4): Bucs, 27-7
David (12-4): Bucs, 31-10
Bailey (13-3): Bucs, 35-10
Mike (13-3): Bucs, 24-13
Len (13-3): Bucs, 23-10
Trey (13-3): Bucs, 26-3