Ravens at Bucs Thursday Night Football Pick
Baltimore Ravens (4-3 SU, 2-4-1 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4 SU, 2-5 ATS)
Week 8 NFL
Date/Time: Thursday Night Football, October 27, 2022 at 8:15PM EDT
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay, Florida
TV: Prime Video
Point Spread: BAL -1.5/TB +1.5 (Bovada)
Over/Under Total: 45
The Baltimore Ravens take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday Night Football. Both teams are still looking to hit their strides, and the Ravens did their part on Sunday, albeit not impressively, in a 23-20 win over the Browns. They now take to the road on the short week for a big showdown with what has to be a desperate Bucs team, seeing things getting sideways after losing 21-3 as double-digit favorites to Carolina on Sunday. At 3-4, they need to get cooking. As we enter week eight, we see neither team has been good in an ATS sense, both having covered just twice thus far. Who can get us the money on Thursday Night Football?
When Do You See the Writing on the Wall?
While the Buccaneers will get most of the attention this week in terms of being a team not seeing their engine turn over the way it’s supposed to, let’s not neglect to direct some of that onto a Ravens team that has played with a wide range this season, despite being in OK shape at 4-3. We’ve seen everything from frenetic free-for-alls to stagnating one-dimensional performances from this Baltimore offense. And on the other side of the ball, you really can’t tell what’s upcoming. One week, the Dolphins are putting up Tecmo Bowl numbers against this unit, and then the Ravens “D” is holding the high-powered Bills and Bengals to a combined 40 points of scoring. While recognizing how powerful they can be when things are going right, we can’t forget the significant potential for a Ravens team on the short week and out of conference on the road, not surfacing in peak form against this defense.
By the same token, we can’t keep chasing peak Tampa form, either. You don’t want to be caught a few weeks from now having gotten the story all wrong with narratives of Tom Brady being finished and the overall Tampa recipe for success having irreversibly soured. But things don’t look right, and a 21-3 loss to a one-win Panthers team that just dealt their only productive offensive player days earlier to the 49ers is a damning indictment. Now you take an aging Brady and put him back out there on the short week after coming up with no TDs against a defense many suspected he would exploit. It’s not unfair to be low on the Buccaneers heading into this game.
Fargo's NFL Thursday Star Attraction (28-15)
Good Matchup for Bucs?
For what it’s worth, the Ravens had a grind of a game on Sunday against the Browns and now go into a stadium many of their players have never seen on the short week. One-dimensional offensive success on Sunday against Cleveland means they could see more of the same this week against a still-good Tampa defense. The Ravens have been getting boosts from a deep backfield, first with Kenyan Drake and then returning Gus Edwards last week, who thrived with 2 TDs. But the aerial game is struggling, and that’s not something that generally improves when playing the Bucs. Even with Rashod Bateman working his way back into action and a great tight end on Mark Andrews, the Ravens are pretty strapped at wide receiver and might have to take a narrow path to success on Thursday.
While some players have cycled back into rotation on the Baltimore defense, they are still getting bit by the injury bug and haven’t quite gotten it together yet. There have been flashes of playing capably, and they do benefit from catching a version of Tampa that isn’t in flight this week. Still, there are a lot of weapons on the Buccaneers’ offense, making it all the more galling that they can’t come up with more production. But at home against a dicey “D” could be a spot where we see some improvement. After all, last week was embarrassing, and Tom Brady and Co. might be facing the biggest regular season crisis they have seen since he joined the Bucs. Playing the urgency card last week didn’t lead anywhere, but maybe it actually resonates this week. If not, it could be curtains.
Issues for Baltimore This Week
While a lot of attention is on Tampa’s offensive woes, the version we’ve seen lately of the Baltimore offense might make this a bigger grind than some suspect. We’ve seen Baltimore not really capitalizing off the early-season momentum on that side of the ball. Still, the Tampa “D” is missing some pieces, and the Bucs might not be able to lean on this side of the ball as they have the last few seasons. But if Baltimore comes out and the run game isn’t booming, we’re looking at a give-and-take game where the superior weaponry of Tampa might be what shines most at the end. Brady has guys like Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Leonard Fournette, and others. Jackson has Andrews and whoever steps up that day. Unless Jackson is really going off, it can get pretty flat, and that would play right into the hands of the Buccaneers.
Take the Home Dog
Again, you don’t want to end up looking back at a failed season for the Bucs and realize it took you until week 9 to figure it out. And Baltimore is still tough on “D” up front and could go to work on a struggling Tampa run game and O-line. Frankly, the Ravens play with such wide form that you can’t be sure what you’ll get, but many of those versions would be too much for the Bucs team we’ve seen lately. I just think it’s a good time to buy low on the Bucs getting points at home against a team flawed enough to offer realistic hope that this Tampa offense can get over the hump this week. I’ll take the Bucs.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus 1.5 points.