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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs and Cardinals headed for score-fest Sunday?

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
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The Bucs have been getting into shootouts. Not the bad kind that shows up on the nightly news, but the good kind that shows up on ESPN.

Unfortunately, the Buccaneers have been on the losing end of these battles. The offense has been putting up a decent amount of points, but the defense has been a complete let-down. Most recently, they lost in OT to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, 40-34.

You have to think that Jameis Winston’s future will be in question if they can’t rebound starting this week and put together a winning season. Bruce Arians will get a pass, since it’s his first year in Tampa and they expect some transitional adjustments … but Winston was the Top Draft pick in 2015 and in a lot of ways has just been an endless series of disappointment.

That said, he did step up and play quite well with over 300 yards and three more TDS in the Buccaneers OT loss to Seattle.

Obviously, four straight losses are concerning … Winston’s outlook on glasses of water is also concerning.

“I mean, the glass is always full … you know, half-full of water … and the other half is full of air … so … I guess that means he has a positive outlook for the rest of the season.”

Let’s just hope that Winston and his glass aren’t full of hot air.

Ok. On to Week 10. The Bucs are finally favorites again at the best betting sites.

Arizona Cardinals Versus Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucs are favorites at home against the Arizona Cardinals. It originally opened with a line of 5.5 points but has since been bet down a full point to -4.5. The Total Score was originally set with an OVER/UNDER of 54 but has also dropped a little, down to 52.

The Cardinals are having a horrendous season. However, they did surprisingly well against a tough-as-nails 49ers squad on TNF. The Cardinals offense put up 25 points and kept the team within a field goal in their 28-25 loss. Even with David Johnson out, the Cardinals have found a running game and put up 150+ yards in two of their last three appearances.

They recently acquired Kenyan Drake from Miami and regardless of whether or not David Johnson plays, Drake is probably going to touch the ball a lot. How effective they’ll be against Tampa Bay’s elite run defense is another question entirely?

The Bucs allow just 68.6 yards per game on the ground. This stat makes them the No. 1 rush defense in the league. The problem is the Bucs rank No. 31 in defending the pass.

That said, that number jumps to 12th in the league while at home. They also boast the No. 5 scoring offense in the NFL and a Top-10 passing game at No. 9. These stats go against Arizona’s No. 29 scoring defense and No. 29 passing defense.

Heck, they don’t even defend the run well, back at No. 25. However, they actually play better on the rad. Their rushing defense enters the Top 15 at No. 14. And both their scoring defense and run D climb a few spots to No. 22 and No. 21 respectively.

So, the Bucs have a really good chance to break that 4-loss streak against Arizona. One thing to note though, is the Cardinals have kept their games close, with the exception of the Saints. They’ve covered the point spread in 4 of their last 5 outings. They covered against the Niners, and they won outright as underdogs against the Giants, the Falcons, and the Bengals.

So, this could turn into another shootout for the Bucs, if they are not careful.

That said bettors would be smart to hop on Tampa Bay to win this one, but likely stay clear of the point spread, just in case the Cardinals keep it down to a field goal loss.

But in any case, we should see the Tampa Bay losing streak end this Sunday.

The Saints on November 17 will be tough. But, if the Buccaneers start out with a win this week, they have a good chance to win five of the last six games of the season moving to 7-7 and perhaps get in conversation for second in the NFC South.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints bounce back for impressive win over Bucs

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The Bucs were hoping to make it back-to-back wins, as the first place Saints came limping to town Sunday. But in the end, the same mistakes that have plagued them throughout the first nine games of the season came to the forefront again, and New Orleans rebounded to beat them decisively 34 – 17.

Drew Brees (above) bounced back from a poor game last week in a 26-9 loss to Atlanta to throw for three touchdowns, and the Saints defense collected four interceptions on Bucs QB Jameis Winston in the victory.

New Orleans jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead on a pair of Will Lutz field goals, the second of which was set up when Winston passed to O.J. Howard and it bounced off of his hands deflecting into the air and was picked off by linebacker Demario Davis.

One play later, Brees found Michael Thomas, the league’s leading receiver in receptions and yards per game, but was somehow wide open with a 16 yard score and a 13-0 lead. The Saints, who had their six-game winning streak snapped a week ago, stayed on the gas and when Brees found tight end Jared Cook for a leaping 3 yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone, it was 20 – 0.

The Bucs 32nd ranked pass defense looked the part for a lot of Sunday, as well.

Meanwhile, Winston and the Tampa Bay offense finally got on the board, when RB Peyton Barber concluded a seven play 75 yard drive with a 6 yard touchdown to trim the lead to 20 – 7. Then, the Bucs were moving the ball late in the first half for another possible score, but Winston was intercepted on another deflected pass by DB Vaughn Bell. And, the Saints took a 13-point lead to the locker room.

In second half leading 20 – 10 New Orleans extended the lead with an 10 play 75 yard drive that culminated, when Brees found Ted Ginn wide open at the goal line from 6 yards out to make it a 17 point advantage.

The Bucs continue to fight, got a WR Chris Godwin 30 yard catch and run TD and got the ball back down 10 points.

Driving out to midfield, Tampa Bay looked like they had a 4th down conversion with 11 minutes to go in the game, when Winston completed a slant pass to Mike Evans. However, the referees called offensive pass interference and Coach Bruce Arians challenged the play. The New York replay command center agreed with the officials that it was interference and at the call stood.

So, that erased a Bucs first down and put the offense in a fourth and long. The Bucs decided to punt after the controversial penalty.

The Buccaneers defense held and got the ball back, but after getting a quick first down, Winston was picked off for the third time in the game. This time by Marcus Williams, who raced 55 yards for the pick six touchdown and basically, the clinching score.

Winston did finish with 313 yard passing, but with four more interceptions, he still leads the NFL with 18 picks through 10 games.

As for the Saints, they clearly got their swagger back on the road after scoring only nine points at a home last week. New Orleans completes the season sweep of Tampa Bay with the victory and looks to stay in the hunt for a first weekend bye in the NFL playoffs with a now 8 – 2 record.

The Buccaneers are now 3 – 7 and headed towards what is apparently going to be a fifth losing season in their last 6 years and their 10th in their last 12 seasons overall.

And, the questions will only continue to mount about the franchise keeping Winston beyond this season. He is not signed to a long-term deal and his record is now 7 – 22 in his last 29 games he’s started in last three seasons.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints bad injury news is good for Bucs- Evans matchup

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Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via USA TODAY NETWORK

As the Bucs get set the host of first place Saints Sunday, Tampa Bay has caught a break with a key injury in New Orleans secondary. This after the Saints have already ruled out defensive back Marshon Lattimore due to a hamstring injury.

Coach Sean Payton informed the media after Saints practice that Lattimore, who left last week’s game with Atlanta with the injury, will not be able to suit up, specifically to go one-on-one against Bucs WR Mike Evans.

And, former first round pick Lattimore has usually gotten the better of the head-to-head matchups over the past three seasons (above) with Evans. This would include the game in New Orleans earlier this year, when the Saints/Lattimore held Evans without a reception for the first time in over four seasons.

However, Evans has been coming on since then, including back-to-back games against the Titans and the Seahawks where he had over 175 five yards receiving and two touchdowns in each. A week ago, the former number one pick finished with four catches for 82 yards in the Bucs 30 – 27 win over the Arizona Cardinals.

New Orleans may likely put former #1 pick Eli Apple on Evans, now, for much of the game.

Payton also ruled out starting offensive guard Andrus Peat due to a fractured forearm, which further complicates a run game with Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray that has yet to get on track this season.

Meanwhile for Tampa Bay, they will be without pass rusher Carl Nassib for the second straight game due to a groin injury and Coach Bruce Arians also told the media that defensive back M.J. Stewart will not play due to an injured knee.

The Buccaneers secondary is in flux after releasing former number 1 pick Vernon Hargreaves earlier in the week but it is expected that rookies Sean Murphy Bunting and Jamel Dean will see action in Hargreaves is place against Drew Brees in the high-powered Saints offense. Dean had the critical interception of Kyler Murray late in the game last week, which led to the Bucs eventually game winning TD drive.

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