The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will try to get their season back on track in Week 10 when they host the Washington Redskins. The action gets underway at 1:00 EST on Sunday, November 11, at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. The game can be seen in certain markets on Fox.
The Week 10 NFL betting odds list the Buccaneers as 3-point favorites at home. Betting in Tampa’s favor has pushed that line up after the home team opened the week as 1-point favorites. The over/under is set at 51.5 points.
After starting the season with two surprising wins, the Bucs have gone into a tailspin that they haven’t been able to stop. After last week’s two-touchdown defeat to the Panthers, Tampa Bay has now lost five of their last six games. They’ve fallen to 3-5 overall and are deep in the NFC South basement. At this point, it’s safe to say that head coach Dirk Koetter is on the hot seat and coaching to save his job every week.
However, the Bucs may have a chance to save themselves. Tampa’s schedule gives them four of their next five games at home, including some very winnable games during the rest of November. If the Buccaneers can string a few wins together, they could become relevant in the playoff chase in December and perhaps do enough for Koetter to keep his job.
Meanwhile, the Redskins are still in good shape despite a disheartening 24-point loss to the Falcons at home last week. The loss put a stop to Washington’s three-game winning streak. But it didn’t cost the Redskins their lead atop the NFC East. Washington remains a game ahead of the Eagles and two games up on the Cowboys, so they are in good position at the midway point in the season.
That being said, the Redskins will be on the road for five of their next seven games. On the plus side, only one team left on their schedule currently has a winning record. But if the Redskins are going to win the NFC East, they’ll have to do it by winning on the road. With such a slim lead in the division, Washington can’t afford to lose to a sub-.500 team this week, even on the road.
I’m not ready to sell my stock in Washington after one bad game. After all, the Redskins have managed to beat two bad teams on the road this season, and with one win in their last six games, the Buccaneers qualify as a bad team. Even at home in a must-win game, I don’t trust Tampa Bay all that much. I’ll take my chances with the Redskins beating the spread and perhaps winning the game.
To be fair, Washington is in a world of trouble in the injury department. Two of their offensive linemen were placed on IR this past week and two more are questionable to play on Sunday. The Redskins could potentially be without four starting offensive linemen this week, which is obviously terrible news for a team that relies on its rushing attack to carry the offense.
However, I’m not convinced the Tampa Bay defense can take full advantage of that weakness. The Bucs are giving up over 100 rushing yards per game and have been absolutely shredded on the ground the last three weeks. Even behind a makeshift offensive line, I think Adrian Peterson still has a chance to put together a solid game. Prior to last week’s disaster against the Falcons, Peterson had three straight games with at least 97 yards on the ground. He should do some damage against such a porous Tampa Bay defense.
I can also see the Washington defense bouncing back after an off day last week. The Redskins have struggled against some of the better offensive teams like the Saints and Falcons. But the Bucs don’t have the balance on offense as those teams. They don’t have an elite quarterback either. The Redskins should be able to stop Tampa’s running game and then turn their attention to putting pressure on quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. Despite all the points they’ve scored, the Bucs have yielded 24 sacks this year, so they don’t always protect their quarterback, which has led to some problems.
Finally, the turnover battle could end up being a key factor in such a close game. The Tampa Bay defense hasn’t forced a turnover in their last five games. Against a quarterback like Alex Smith who’s thrown just three picks this season, that isn’t likely to change this week. On the other side, Fitzpatrick has thrown seven interceptions in six games, including two last week against the Panthers. Just staying even in the turnover ratio may be the best outcome the Bucs can hope for this week.
In a game where both sides have obvious flaws, I feel more comfortable with the team that can run the ball and wins the turnover battle. The Redskins should have a clear advantage in both areas. With a 3-point cushion, I’ll side with Washington to at least beat the spread.