Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#255 Arizona Cardinals 53.5 vs.
#256 Tampa Bay Buccaneers -5
Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 1:00pm EST
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Written by Sporty Jordy

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#255 Arizona
#256 Tampa Bay
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When and where: November 10, 2019, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL, 1:00 PM ET

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers hope to avoid a fifth consecutive loss on Sunday when hosting the struggling Arizona Cardinals. Things have predictably snowballed for the Cardinals after back-to-back meetings with the top-two teams in the NFC. After getting blown out by the New Orleans Saints, they came within a field goal of tying and potentially upsetting the San Francisco 49ers. They’ll try to do a better job of finishing against the slumping Buccaneers, who have lost their last two games by less than a touchdown.

Cardinals are clearly on the right track

Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury spent the early part of the season being the butt of the joke of those that didn’t like his offense or his quarterback. Yet, the Cardinals have shown promise in what was always going to be a losing season. Their best run came in October when they won three consecutive games against the Cincinnati Bengals, New York Giants and Atlanta Falcons. Then there was their impressive Thursday Night Football game a week ago, when they gave the unbeaten San Francisco 49ers all they could handle in a 28-25 loss.

On Sunday, they’ll face an underrated defense, particularly against the run, when going on the road to take on the Buccaneers. Fortunately for the Cardinals, their offense leans on versatile tailbacks rather than a one-trick pony sledgehammer that only runs north to south. The Buccaneers are the No. 1-ranked rushing defense in football, but on the backend, they have the second-worst secondary in defending the pass. Quarterback Kyler Murray must be grinning ear-to-ear ahead of a game where he could be asked to drop back to throw even more.

It’s no secret Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston is turnover-prone on the other side of the ball. So Cardinals former All-Pro defensive end Chandler Jones should be licking his chops for a chance to wreak havoc. Winston will already have enough problems throwing into the teeth of a secondary with perennial Pro Bowler Patrick Peterson and Budda Baker surveying the field.

It’s important to note some key defensive names popping up on the injury report with linebackers Terrell Suggs and Brooks Reed, along with corner Tramaine Brock Sr., all being listed as questionable for the game.

Buccaneers can’t close the deal

The Buccaneers have made strides on defense with Todd Bowles calling the plays, and even Winston has stepped up and looked surprisingly elite in some games. Of course, those games for Winston have been few and far in between, and they haven’t done much to convince anyone he’s the best long-term option for the team. The biggest problem for the Buccaneers has been their inability to win close games. They have been defeated by no more than a touchdown in three of their last four losses.

Will they be able to right the ship in Sunday’s meeting with the Cardinals?

It will fall on Winston’s shoulders if there’s a possibility. Bowles has done a great job for the defense in a short period of time, but he also isn’t a miracle worker. The secondary has been an absolute mess all season, despite the continued improvements on the defensive front. They are giving up 293.5 passing yards per game to opposing offenses. Good luck with those sorts of issues heading into a game against a pass-happy Cardinals team.

Winston has to limit the turnovers in this game. It’s starting to feel like a week-to-week plug for one of the league’s most turnover-prone quarterbacks. The Cardinals haven’t been great against the pass this season, either, and Winston should be able to find opportunities to get the ball to receivers Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. It would also behoove the offense to get tight end O.J. Howard and running back Ronald Jones II more involved.

The Buccaneers could be short-handed on the offensive front if Ali Marpet and Demar Dotson, who are both listed as questionable with injuries, sit out on Sunday. However, there is hope cornerback Carlton Davis might return after missing Week 9.

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The Buccaneers are the perfect opponent to get eaten alive by Kingsbury’s passing offense. Murray’s ability to scramble around and keep plays alive longer than they’d normally be, along with the versatile receiving tailbacks coming out of the backfield, is another disaster waiting to happen for the Buccaneers.

The Cardinals will also be getting a huge boost with running back David Johnson returning to the lineup. Kenyan Drake gave the vaunted 49ers defense all kinds of problems last week. Imagine what he’ll be able to do to the Buccaneers with Johnson on the field as well. Expect to see a heavy dose of passes going to the running backs and plenty of yards after the catch.

The Buccaneers have also yet to win a single game at home this season. Winston can’t be trusted on a weekly basis, and the defense can’t defend the pass. The Cardinals may be a rebuilding team with their own fair share of problems, but they’ve at least been better than the Buccaneers. Give me the Cardinals to steal a win on the road and end their two-game losing streak.

Prediction: Arizona Cardinals (+4.5)

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This should be a fun game with plenty of offense considering all of the struggles on the backend of both defenses. You won’t catch the Cardinals poking fun at the Buccaneers’ second-worst pass defense considering they are only two spots down as the fourth-worst in the league. Opposing teams are averaging 280.7 passing yards per game against the Cardinals.

Murray playing within Kingsbury’s pass-heavy offense will be able to pile up yards against the Buccaneers. Winston will also tease his burgeoning elite abilities by matching Murray’s prolific numbers on the other side before ultimately coming up short. I’m taking the over betting total here.

Prediction: Over (52)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Sporty Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys and all the Sun Drop you can drink.