Week 13 in the NFL was a strange one that saw games extending into the early part of mid-week as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took the week off with the league’s latest bye week of 2020.
Back in action for Week 14, the Bucs’ playoff odds actually improved in the week off, moving from -495 to -698.
Of course, playoff seedings are far from set, and Tampa Bay will do a lot of good for their chances coming out of Week 14 if they come away with a home victory against the Minnesota Vikings.
What are the chances that will happen? Good considering the Buccaneers (-295) enter this latest home game as favorites to beat the visiting Vikings (+250).
Standing in their way of course will be Kirk Cousins, Dalvin Cook, Adam Thielen, and Justin Jefferson on the Minnesota offense. Defensively, however, the Vikings will be missing a key piece in Eric Kendricks who injured his calf in non-contact warm-ups prior to Minnesota’s Week 13 game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
For the hometown Bucs, they’ll be leaning of course on Tom Brady and Mike Evans. The second of those key players was a question mark heading through the week with a minor hamstring issue that crept up during the post-bye practices.
Cornerback Jamel Dean was, at one point, expected to return to action after missing the team’s Week 12 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs with a concussion. While he cleared concussion protocol, he suffered a groin injury which kept him out of practice all week and resulted in his being named inactive prior to kickoff.
Speaking of inactives, Leonard Fournette as a healthy inactive might be the biggest surprise of all. Of course, this has led to speculation rookie Ke’Shawn Vaughn may be in line for a bigger role.
All of these snippets of news will surely impact whether or not the Bucs or Vikings come out as the winner in Week 14. Tampa Bay is favored by close to a touchdown, and the two are expected to combine for north of 52 total points.
If all of those come to fruition, fans of both teams will be in for a good game, and one side will see their playoff chances increase significantly before Week 15, while the other will continue searching for answers.