The first and second overall picks in the 2015 NFL Draft will meet for real this time as the Tennessee Titans travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 1 of the new season. Jameis Winston, who went No. 1, takes on the Titans and new quarterback Marcus Mariota, No. 2, as both teams try to create a winning identity. The two top draft picks met in the preseason but now meet in the regular season in a match-up of the previous two Heisman Trophy winners. Tennessee Titans vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers odds have listed the home team as field goal (-3) favorites while NFL picks for week 1 have the over/under total set at 41. Both teams believe they have selected their quarterback of the future but, as history has shown, rookie quarterbacks have a tough time getting started…even the best ones.
In 2012 Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts accounted for four turnovers in a loss in his first start. Both Sam Bradford (2010) and Matt Stafford (2009) turned the ball over three times in their inaugural NFL starts. What could help both quarterbacks would be a solid running game, but neither team finished in the upper half of the league in rushing yards per game last season. Tampa Bay’s leading rusher a year ago, Doug Martin, didn’t even eclipse 500 yards and the Bucs will start two rookies on the offensive line on Sunday. Still, offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has confidence in his front five, a unit that gave up 52 sacks a year ago. Things are not much better for Mariota and the Titans. Bishop Sankey may lose out to Terrance West as the starter at running back and neither is a household name. West was recently acquired via a trade with Cleveland. Regardless, the Titans running game is not one of the league’s elite and is a key factor when handicapping Titans vs Buccaneers odds.
If at all possible, the Titans will try to distract and disrupt Winston with a myriad of pressure on defense. Long-time Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau joined the Tennessee staff after last season and will do his best to put together the type of defense that he is known for. The Hall of Fame player and coach built some of the league’s best defensive units in both Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Sunday’s NFL picks for Tennessee Titans vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers odds are not just about Winston and Mariota, but there is not much more news for two franchises that have not frequented the playoffs over the past decade. Tampa Bay won a Super Bowl XXXVII in a rout over Oakland following the 2002 season. The Buccaneers have reached the postseason just two times since. Tennessee has been to the playoffs just twice (2006 and 2008) in the past decade. The week 1 season opener (Sunday, September 13th) between the Titans and Chargers can be seen live on CBS at 4:25pm EST from Raymond James Stadium.