Tampa Bay is currently a 3-point underdog via DraftKings Sportsbook. Our staff weighs in with their predictions for the Bucs game and picks for the rest of the NFL’s Week 9 games.
Gil Arcia: Yet another slow start
I don’t know what it is, but this team is notorious for slow starts. Baker Mayfield, Tom Brady, Jameis Winston, whoever the quarterback has been the Buccaneers have been inconsistent at the start of games. What’s the real reason for that? They don’t even know because they would have already figured it out. Look for the Bucs to not get on the board until halfway through the second quarter. By that time they’ll already be down two scores. Welp.
James Yarcho: Running Through The Air
The Bucs’ run game has been abysmal this season, and that’s putting it nicely. However, over the last few weeks, they’ve adopted the “running through the air” philosophy where dump offs and short passes to Rachaad White are allowing him to create plays in space and big up chunk plays. It works again this week when White goes for over 100 total yards for the second straight week but this time he finds the end zone.
Mike Kiwak: The Backslide Continues
Houston rookie QB C.J. Stroud is playing some excellent football to start his career, and Baker Mayfield is in the midst of a low valley after hitting some hopeful peaks to begin the season. If the latter doesn’t bounce back this week, the calls for his job will get noticeably louder. This game will come down to signal caller play, and I think DeMeco Ryans will do a better job against Baker than Todd Bowles will do against Stroud. Baker throws 2 picks, and the Bucs lose their fourth straight.
Will Walsh: Dave Canales targets his receivers or Tampa loses.
The Buccaneers are down bad. Three straight losses and Todd Bowles' squad has not looked good in any of them. Tampa needs a win to keep pace in the NFC South, a division the Bucs were leading not all that long ago. The Buccaneers' best players have to overcome and pull the team to victory. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin need a combined 18 targets. If they get that, the duo gains 150 yards, finds the endzone twice, and Tampa Bay wins.
Evan Wanish: It isn’t pretty, but the Bucs squeak out a W in a must win
I am going to be pretty blunt here. If the Bucs lose this weekend, their season is over. Yeah yeah I know the division is weak and yadda yadda. Don’t care. A fourth straight loss that drops you to 3-5 and losing to a team you should probably beat would be demoralizing. The good news is I don’t think that happens. With their backs against the wall in Houston, the defense comes up big with two takeaways while the Bucs offense plays a clean game to escape with the 17-13 victory, keeping their season and playoff hopes alive for another week.