For the first time in the “Tom Brady era” for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Bucs are staring at a must win game before Thanksgiving. After jumping out to a 2-0 start, the Buccaneers have lost four of their last five and are on the cusp of imploding before our very eyes.
Tom Brady has never been on a team that was below .500 after eight weeks, but that’s exactly what would happen if the Bucs can’t find a way to beat the Ravens. The biggest problem this week - outside of locating the end zone - is Lamar Jackson.
Jackson, one of the biggest dual threat quarterbacks in the league, is going to be facing a Bucs defense that is without Carlton Davis, Sean Murphy-Bunting, and Antoine Winfield Jr. That’s a huge blow to the defense for the Bucs as they will also be without safety Logan Ryan and rookie cornerback Zyon McCollum will get his second start of his career.
The Buccaneers are currently 16th in the NFL in rush defense, allowing 118.3 yards per game while allowing 17.7 points per game - fifth best in the NFL. Baltimore, on the other hand, is averaging 25.9 points per game - sixth best in the NFL - and are clipping off 156.3 rush yards per game, fifth most in the NFL.
Offensively, there isn’t much to say about the Bucs that would be positive. 22nd in total offense, sixth in passing offense, dead last in rushing offense, and tied for 26th in scoring - averaging the same as they allow, 17.7 points per game.
The Buccaneers have yet to score a touchdown in the first quarter this season but the Ravens are allowing 23.0 points per game. However, they’re allowing 14.4 points per game in the second half, second worst rate in the league ahead of only the Detroit Lions.
Baltimore leads the all-time series 4-2, having won the last four in a row. The last Bucs win came in 2002 when the Bucs shut out the Ravens in Baltimore 25-0. In the two Ravens wins in Raymond James Stadium, the Ravens have outscored the Bucs 75-17.
In his career against the Ravens, Tom Brady is 6-2 with 2,177 yards, ten touchdowns, five interceptions, and being sacked 17 times - a little over two times per game. Mike Evans has faced the Ravens twice, getting eight receptions for 176 yards and a touchdown in the two contests.
The Ravens, coming off their win against the Cleveland Browns, have yet to win two consecutive games this season - alternating wins and losses to get to 4-3 on the season. The Buccaneers haven’t lost three straight games since 2019 when they lost four straight games from weeks five through nine to drop to 2-6 on the season. Brady, himself, hasn’t been part of a three game losing streak since 2002 when the Patriots lost four straight to fall to 3-4 before ending the season 9-7 and missing the playoffs.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, the Buccaneers are somehow two-point favorites for Thursday Night Football with an over/under of 46. The Bucs haven’t covered the spread in their last nine Thursday night games - which doesn’t bode well with such a small spread - while Leonard Fournette has scored at least one touchdown in five straight games against AFC teams.
The Bucs and Ravens will kickoff in Raymond James Stadium at 8:15 p.m. ET. The game will be on Amazon Prime as well as Tampa’a FOX 13 with Al Michaels, Kirk Herbstreit, and Kaylee Hartung on the call.