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 trackCardinals 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 dealThe 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.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Cardinals are 20-7-2 ATS in their last 29 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Cardinals are 16-6 ATS in their last 22 road games against a team with a losing home record.
- Cardinals are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 road games.
- Cardinals are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Buccaneers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games in November.
- Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games against teams in the NFC.
- Buccaneers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games overall.