These are two teams that up until three weeks ago, looked to be solid playoff contenders. Since then, they have both struggled. The Bucs have lost back-to-back home games, while the Bills have lost two out of three games and could easily have lost three straight. This is a huge game for both teams; the loser faces a long, hard winter.
Buffalo’s season has seen both highs and lows. Although favored in all their games this year, Buffalo suffered losses to the Jets, Jaguars and most recently, the Patriots. When asked by media about his team’s difficulties this year quarterback Josh Allen replied by saying that their season “is still long”, so “we may figure this one out later on”.
Losing Tight End Dawson Knox will make the Bills go to more three wide receiver sets, which could be a needed change anyway. Dalton Kincaid will need to step up in Knox’s absence.
Tampa Bay’s past four games have included three home losses. They have been road warriors so far this season winning by three in Minnesota and 17 in New Orleans, respectively. Tampa hopes to recapture some of that success; currently on a two-game slide but just half-game behind Atlanta in the NFC South; however, their last game featured just one touchdown (Mike Evans scored it early in the first quarter).
Baker Mayfield has been an unexpected gem in Tampa, leading them to a.500 record through six games. However, his performance in his last two losses was less than stellar – only throwing one touchdown pass and recording two interceptions during those losses. On average, Mayfield is averaging 227.2 passing yards per game with an average QBR of 58.6, good enough for 14th in the league. Mike Evans remains Tampa Bay’s primary receiving threat, averaging 78.0 yards per game with four touchdown catches of over 20 yards each week and eight catches totalling more than 100 yards. Chris Godwin has been an outstanding second receiver this season, averaging 66.3 yards per game, yet to find the end zone. Unfortunately for Tampa Bay in terms of ground game, Rachaad White only averages 44.3 yards per game and has one rushing touchdown already this season.
This is a tough one; both teams are struggling. Allen is better than Mayfield and the Bills are at home. The point spread scares me at -8.5, but I am going with Buffalo 27 Tampa Bay 17.
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