Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Denver Broncos Pick & Prediction SEP 27TH 2020

Stadium: Sports Authority Field at Mile High Denver
Logo Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Logo Denver Broncos

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Tom Brady coming to the Mile High city used to indicate a clash of two of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. But that was when Brady was with New England and Peyton Manning wasn't on the Hall of Fame ballot.


Those epic battles between Brady and Manning, including two AFC Championship games in Denver, are memories. While Manning retired after the 2015 season, Brady has kept going. At 43, Brady is with a new team but has the same title aspirations with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.


Brady leads Tampa Bay into Denver to face the Broncos on Sunday in a Week 3 matchup.


The Buccaneers (1-1) are coming off a 31-17 win over the Carolina Panthers while Denver (0-2) is coming off a game that was more painful than just a 26-21 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.


The Broncos lost quarterback Drew Lock in the first quarter, and his favorite target last season, wide receiver Courtland Sutton, went down with an ACL tear. Two weeks into the season Denver has lost its best defensive player, linebacker Von Miller, a star running back in Phillip Lindsay and now adds two more significant injuries.


Miller and Sutton are expected to miss the rest of the season while Lock (strained right rotator cuff) is likely out three-to-eight weeks. Lindsay (turf toe) is hoping to be back after the bye week and play against the Patriots on Oct. 11.


The Broncos didn't place Lock on the short-term injured list with the hope he could return sooner than eight weeks.


"There's a chance he may not have to miss three games," Denver coach Vic Fangio said of Lock. "But there's a chance he could miss four or five."


Backup Jeff Driskel came on and nearly led the Broncos to a win at Pittsburgh, and he'll get the start Sunday with Brett Rypien as the backup. Denver brought in Blake Bortles, and the quarterback started the mandated COVID-19 protocols to be cleared. He would likely be the emergency quarterback.


The Broncos have been dealing with other injuries. Cornerback Davontae Harris (hamstring) sat out the first practice of the week while wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (ribs) and defensive lineman Shelby Harris (neck) were limited in practice on Wednesday.


Tampa Bay got good news when wide receiver Chris Godwin cleared the concussion protocol and was a full participant in Wednesday's practice.


Godwin gives Brady another weapon to use against Denver as he gets more comfortable with coach Bruce Arians' offense. Arians was critical of Brady's first game, a 34-23 loss to New Orleans, after he threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns but also tossed two interceptions.


He completed 23 of 35 passes for 217 yards with one TD and one pick against the Panthers.


In his first two games he has completed 46 passes but only two have gone to tight end Rob Gronkowski, both of which came in the first week. Gronkowski, who was one of Brady's primary targets in New England, came out of retirement to join the Buccaneers and has not yet put up the numbers he did with the Patriots.


Arians isn't worried about Gronkowski's targets.


"We brought him in to just play tight end. If that means no catches, that means no catches," Arians said. "If it means 10 catches, it means 10 catches because he's open and that's where the ball goes."


--Field Level Media


Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Denver Broncos

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Denver Broncos

Tom Brady completed 25 of 38 passes for 297 yards and three touchdowns, Mike Evans caught two TD passes, and the visiting Tampa Bay Buccaneers beat the Denver Broncos 28-10 on Sunday.

Chris Godwin had five receptions for 64 yards and a score, Scotty Miller had three catches for a game-high 83 yards and Ronald Jones II rushed for 53 yards for Tampa Bay (2-1).

Buccaneers tight end Rob Gronkowski was targeted seven times and finished with six catches for 48 yards.

Jeff Driskel was 17-for-30 for 176 yards, with one touchdown and an interception before being replaced by Brett Rypien in the fourth quarter. Rypien was 8-for-9 for 53 yards and an interception. Tim Patrick had four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown for Denver (0-3).

The Broncos held the ball for 4:19 on the opening drive but it stalled near midfield. Sam Martin's punt was blocked by Pat O'Connor, who scooped the loose ball and took it to the Denver 10. On third-and-10 Brady connected with Godwin, who stretched the ball over the goal line to give Tampa Bay a 7-0 lead.

Ryan Succop added a 43-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the first quarter before Denver closed within 10-3 on Brandon McManus' 56-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

Brady then led the Buccaneers on a 12-play, 75-yard drive, capped with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Evans. After the Broncos went three-and-out on the ensuing drive, Brady again took Tampa Bay down the field and hit Evans with his second 1-yard touchdown pass to put the Buccaneers ahead 23-3. The PAT was blocked.

Denver responded with a touchdown drive in the final minutes of the half. Driskel hit 6 of 7 passes on the drive, connecting with Patrick on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 14 seconds left to make it 23-10.

Tampa Bay went ahead 25-10 when Shaquil Barrett sacked Driskel in the end zone early in the third quarter.

Barrett had two of the Buccaneers' six sacks.

Lavonte David interception Driskel at midfield late in the third quarter, and Tampa Bay drove to Denver's 17-yard line before settling for Succop's 35-yard field goal for the final points.

--Field Level Media