Week 1: Bucs-Jets matchup analysis

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-0) at New York Jets (0-0)
Sunday, 1 p.m. ET, at MetLife Stadium - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Erin Andrews
*Keys to the game: The Jets could redefine conservative with rookie QB Geno Smith at the controls -- and no special playmakers around him. Some combination of Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory is the Jets' best hope, but the Bucs led the NFL in run defense last season and upgraded two weak spots in the secondary by acquiring CB Darrelle Revis from the Jets and S Dashon Goldson in free agency. If the Bucs can take away the run, Smith's Sunday statistics could be unholy. He threw three interceptions in his only extended action against a No. 1 defense in the preseason. The Bucs have the stud back the Jets lack in Doug Martin, a bowling ball of muscle who is eager to truck over linebackers and is a better receiver than he's credited. It's a make-or-break season for Bucs QB Josh Freeman, who has deep threats in Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams to exploit New York's aggressiveness on play-action.
*Matchup to watch - Jets offensive line vs. Buccaneers defensive line: The Bucs allowed an NFL-low 3.5 yards per carry last season, and an inability to get the run going on Sunday beckons Smith to win the game by himself against a preying secondary.
*Player spotlight - Bucs OG Davin Joseph: The Jets will show the eight-man fronts not many teams did against Tampa Bay last season with a focus on shutting down Martin. Joseph was hobbled in the preseason, and the Bucs' o-line never found a rhythm.
*Fast facts: The Bucs' starting defensive line has only 21.5 career sacks combined. ... The Jets are 9-1 all-time in the series. ... Martin was third in the NFL with 1,924 yards from scrimmage as a rookie in 2012.
Turnovers haunted the Jets last season and with a rookie quarterback and overall talent deficit, New Jersey native Greg Schiano and the Buccaneers assist CB Darrelle Revis in exacting revenge against his old mates.
*Our pick: Buccaneers 23-12

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