Bucs -1.5 at Arizona. 2.5 units.
*Plays are rated 1 to 5 units in order of confidence.
The Cardinals are coming off a 34-7 blowout loss to the Eagles to drop them to 2-3. Their only 2 wins have come in overtime by 3 against the Colts and 49ers, two teams who have struggled all season. They lost by 11 to the Cowboys, 12 to the Lions, and then the 27 point loss to the Eagles.
Carson Palmer has been sloppy and gets hit often – he’s been sacked 19 times in 5 games. The Cardinals have no running game and I don’t see them establishing one today vs the Bucs who give up just 3.4 yards per carry on the season. This means Palmer should be in 3rd & long situations more often than normal and I’ll take Tampa Bay’s defense vs the Cardinals offense right now any day. The Buccaneers defense gave up just 19 points to the Patriots last week, the only team to hold them under 20 this season.
Speaking of the game against the Patriots, the Bucs are coming off a Thursday Night Football game – they’ve had extra time to prepare and rest for the Cards this week. After dealing with Hurricane Irma and a Week 2 game where almost half the defense had the flu I think this mini-bye came at a really good time for the Bucs. Doug Martin came back last week vs the Pats and looked great. The Bucs could have beaten the Patriots last week if Nick Folk hits 2 of those 3 field goals.
This is a big revenge game for the Bucs who played the Cardinals last year and got blown out 40-7. Some people would say that’s a reason to stay away from the Bucs but the Bucs were on the their 3rd road game in a row and were coming off beating the Falcons 31-24 in Atlanta……pretty tough hangover to overcome on your 3rd straight road game. The Bucs travel well, they’re faster, and Jameis Winston can spread Arizona’s defense out when Doug Martin isn’t grinding out yards on the ground. All over the Bucs here.