Arizona Cardinals vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Picks 11/6/19
Arizona Cardinals (3-5-1 SU, 6-3 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-6 SU, 2-6 ATS)
NFL Week 10
Date/Time: Sunday, November 10, 2019 at 1PM EST
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
Point Spread: ARI +4.5/TB -4.5 (Bet365)
Over/Under Total: 52
The Arizona Cardinals make the trip to Raymond James Stadium for a week ten NFC showdown with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. After going on a little run to get to 3-3-1, the Cardinals lost their second in a row on Thursday, falling 28-25 to the 49ers, but covering their 6th spread of the season. They look to get well this week against a Tampa team that may be just 2-6 but is pretty dangerous in the right spots. On Sunday, they lost their 4th game in a row, falling to the Seahawks, 40-34, in overtime. With the Cardinals coming off the long week and Tampa coming off a taxing OT loss, will the Bucs hold down the fort on Sunday or will the upstart Cardinals end their slide?
Can Tampa Do What it Does Well in This Game?
In a word—yes. For all their faults, they can really air it out. Jameis Winston has over 2400 yards already and 16 touchdowns. The 12 picks are a concern, and that’s one of the downsides of the Tampa offense is all the mistakes. But with Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, Winston has two tremendous ball-catchers with which to work. Against Seattle on Sunday, Evans had 180 yards receiving and a TD. While their run-game lags far behind their pass attack, Ronald Jones has been better this season, and that could surface against an Arizona run defense that isn’t that tight.
At home against this Arizona defense, we could see the Tampa air-attack manifest. There are decent signs with the Arizona secondary, namely the return of Patrick Peterson from suspension and the better play of Budda Baker, but the Arizona secondary has mostly struggled. Even against Jimmy Garoppolo in their last game against a QB struggling to put up numbers, he thrived against this bunch. Most QBs they’ve played have thrived. They’ve picked off only two passes this season, and with them being porous, they’re really one of the more ineffective groups in the conference. But with Terrell Suggs and Chandler Jones applying heat to the quarterback, Winston might have to improvise.
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How Arizona’s Offense Matches Up
Tampa is the top-ranked rushing defense in the league. Whether that’s more because of how good they are or how easy it is for opponents to pass on, Tampa is up in the air a bit. In giving up 31.5 points a game, the bottom line doesn’t speak well of this defense. The Cardinals do best when they can run the ball. Last week, they got a big boost from Kenyan Drake, who ran for 110 yards and caught four balls. But it’s not like they’re not able to make noise aerially with rookie QB Kyler Murray. With Larry Fitzgerald, Kevin Johnson, and now Drake, Murray has some targets. Different guys seem to step up weekly, with Andy Isabella catching an 88-yard TD pass last week. There aren’t abundant stars on this side of the ball and injuries have played a bad role, but Murray is at least more adept in sidestepping the Tampa pass-rush than Winston will be with the Cardinals’ pressure.
The Tampa front-seven on defense should be able to push the Arizona offensive line to the limits of what it can withstand. With Ndamukong Suh, William Gholston Carl Nassib, and Vita Vea upfront, with hitters like Shaquil Barrett, Lavonte David, and rookie Devin White in the middle, they get after the QB. They could give the rookie Murray issues with that dicey front. But even with that level of disruption up front, Tampa’s secondary still hasn’t benefitted, ranking among the worst in the league.
Which Defense Can Put Their Imprint on the Game?
These defenses have a lot in common. They’re strongest up front, and both get after the passer. Tampa is good against the run, while Arizona is pretty bad, yet Tampa allows more points per game on average. So how much does it matter that they’re good against the run? At the end of the day, both defenses are very prone to giving up points. It might come down to which offense will make more mistakes, and that’s a tough one to call. Winston has thrown 12 picks this season, but other than a five pick and a three pick game hasn’t been as inaccurate as he is typically. Murray, meanwhile, has thrown just four picks and none in his last five games. And as the team’s leading rusher, he can get you a few different ways.
You have two teams here that are struggling to grab hold of something but might not be that far off. Some of the Arizona recipe for success has resonated ahead of schedule. We’ve seen them at close to their best with a glimpse of what they can become. But Tampa is on the right track with Bruce Arians, and while there will be bumps on the road, they’re at least dangerous, despite not pulling the best results yet.
Take the Points on the Road Underdog
Pitting the Tampa air-attack against this Cardinals’ defense is not a promising matchup. It’s hard not to imagine Winston putting up a lot of yardage. By the same token, I don’t think Arizona is doing appreciably worse than Tampa, certainly not enough to warrant a 4.5 point spread with the Bucs being the favorite. I see the Arizona pass-rush manifesting in this game, with their own offense keeping pace against a beleaguered Tampa defense, as the Cardinals emerge from Tampa with the cover on Sunday. I’m taking the Cardinals.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Arizona Cardinals plus 4.5 points.