The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4, 1-2 home) aim to get things back on track Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens (4-3, 2-1 away). Both teams currently sit atop their respective divisions. This will be the only meeting between the two teams this season.
The kickoff of the AFC showdown is at 8:15 EST inside Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Tampa Bay is a one-point favorite, and the over/under total is 45.5 points.
What to Know – Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore is tied with the Cincinnati Bengals atop the AFC North standings after almost two months of action. The Ravens bounced back after losing to the New York Giants two weeks ago with a victory over the Cleveland Browns last week.
Lamar Jackson continues to assault opposing defenses with his arm and legs. The dual-threat quarterback has thrown for 13 touchdowns and rushed for two touchdowns, tallying 1,907 total yards of offense.
The running back room for the Ravens is a little less predictable. Gus Edwards was activated last week and led Baltimore with 16 carries for 66 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he is listed as questionable for Thursday’s contest. If he can’t go, Kenyan Drake should be the guy handling most of the touches on the ground.
Tight end Mark Andrews is Jackson’s favorite target passing the ball. Andrews has 39 receptions for 455 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Rashod Bateman follows, tallying 15 catches for 285 yards and a pair of TDs.
What to Know – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
After a 2-0 start, the Bucs have lost four of their last five and slip to under .500 for the season. Tampa Bay was nearly shutout last week in a surprising 21-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Although under .500, the Bucs are even with the Atlanta Falcons at the top of the NFC South.
Is age finally catching up with Tom Brady, or is it off-the-field distractions in his personal life? Whatever it is, the 45-year-old quarterback hasn’t looked like the Brady of old this year.
He is still playing the position well, completing 66.9% of his passes with eight touchdowns and one interception, but he has a lot of ground to make up if he wants to touch the totals from his first two years in the Bay.
Leonard Fournette dominates the touches out of the backfield, accounting for 103 attempts of the team’s 148 total rushers. Fournette has turned those carries into 362 yards on the ground and one score.
With Rob Gronkowski no longer catching passes, the wide receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin have emerged as Brady’s favorite targets.
Evans leads the way with 33 receptions, 454 yards, and three touchdowns, while Goodwin adds 29 catches and 293 yards.
The Pick is In
It has been a weird NFL season so far, with teams beating teams they shouldn’t and vice versa. Baltimore has been playing better football lately, and this line screams Ravens, so we will jump on the other side with Tampa to get things back on track during the short week.
The Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1