Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Cleveland Browns Week 12 ATS Play
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-5 SU, 3-6-1 ATS) vs. Cleveland Browns (3-7 SU, 4-6 ATS)
Week 12 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, November 27, 2022 at 1PM EST
Where: FirstEnergy Stadium, Cleveland, Ohio
Point Spread: TB -3/CLE +3 (Bovada – There is no better sportsbook on the web to bet at. You’re missing out if you’re not wagering on games there!)
Over/Under Total: 43.5
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to FirstEnergy Stadium for a week 12 showdown with the Cleveland Browns. A little out of sight after a bye week last week, the Bucs are coming off a 21-16 win over Seattle for their second win in a row, lifting them to 5-5 as they sit atop the NFC South. They look to surge in the last seven games, starting against the 3-7 Browns on Sunday. Last week saw the Browns come up short to the Bills, 31-23, in Detroit for their 6th loss in their last seven games. Who can get it done in Cleveland this week?
Getting a Handle on the Bucs
On one hand, they’ve looked nothing like themselves this season. Tom Brady looks off. The offense isn’t clicking, with the run game and the offensive line suffering in a big way. The big games from Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are down. They’re getting minimal production at tight end. They aren’t as good against the run on defense this season. Coaching seems to have taken a step backward without Bruce Arians in there. At no point have they really looked the part of a real contender. And barely getting by the Rams a few weeks ago and beating an off-key Seattle team by five before the bye still had them looking pretty ragged.
Being in the NFC South really helps a Tampa team that is having trouble seeing its engine turn over this season. They are in first place, a better overall spot than a lot of teams considered to be better this season. On top of that, they’re now rested, having been given extra time to reflect on a rough first ten-game stretch while maybe figuring out how to improve their overall product. And while it’s possible that Brady just hit a wall age-wise and the losses they incurred will have a worse effect than forecasted, one has to at least entertain the chance that we start to see Brady and the Bucs putting their postseason case together now.
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Tough Spot for Tampa?
The Browns are not helpless despite some rough results lately and a 3-7 record. That only tells part of the story. They’ll be getting Deshaun Watson back soon, but it’s been tough with a Jacoby Brissett-led offense. He’s a good backup, and there are weapons on this team offensively. Nick Chubb could have some success against this Tampa Bay run defense. And if not, Brissett has nice targets at wide receiver and tight end. Amari Cooper is coming off a big game in a losing cause last Sunday. They’re certainly capable of firing off a dud, but at their high range, the Browns can actually be quite good.
It’s a bit of a strange site for the Buccaneers. There looks to be some weather coming to Cleveland, and while that’s nothing new for Brady, a lot of Bucs will be seeing this stadium for the first time, while they are definitely seeing tough conditions for the first time. After being at home for three straight games, followed by a bye, they now finally take to the road again, looking to finish the season strongly. But this might not be the best conditions to see your offense take off in the bog of Cleveland.
At the same time, if the weather isn’t stifling, certain conditions set up decently for the Bucs. Cleveland is pretty average against the pass and downright bad in spots against the run. Opposing quarterbacks are generally having pretty good games against this group. It’d be great for the Bucs to see some fresher legs resonate with Leonard Fournette after a series of ho-hum games where he’s not much more than a presence inside the five. Listed as questionable, we might see more of Rashaad White. In either event, with injuries decimating them with their supporting cast of receivers, they’re just not as deep as we saw with their Super Bowl run over even last season. It’s a narrower path to success with worse protection for Brady now than there once was.
Despite being division leaders and winners of two straight, the Bucs are a flawed .500 team that has failed to excite. With some close games, are the Browns really that far off from the Bucs this season? It’s easy to perceive the Browns as a flop and the Bucs as a contender just from a standings point-of-view, but in the grand scheme of things, maybe they’re not that far apart. By the time we come to week 12 in a season, it might be more about coming to grips with what we see than holding out hope that a team that hasn’t surfaced yet will magically start to appear. In other words, we might have notions of what a high-end Buccaneers team could do to close out this season, but if that team were ever to show up, wouldn’t it have happened before now?
Take the Points
I tend to think the Browns are a little better than their W-L record would indicate. Sure, they’re not great, but recent showings like a one-score loss to the Bills last week, beating the Bengals, and narrow losses to the Chargers and Ravens show that they’re generally pretty competitive from week to week. They get this one at home, and while the Bucs are rested and got a little taste of success in their last two games, I see Cleveland holding firm at home and giving the Bucs a little run for their money. I’ll take the Browns at home.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Cleveland Browns plus 3 points. Bet your Thanksgiving Day NFL predictions for FREE by scoring a 100% real cash bonus up to $300 by entering bonus promo code PREDICT100 at MyBookie Sportsbook!