Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Pick 12/1/19
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7 SU, 3-8 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (4-7 SU, 5-6 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date/Time: Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 1PM EST
Where: TIAA Bank Stadium, Jacksonville, Florida
Point Spread: TB +1/JAC -1 (BetAnySports - 19 Point Teasers, -105 Sides/Totals!)
Over/Under Total: 49
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers make the short trip to TIAA Bank Stadium for a week 13 all-Florida matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars. With both teams at 4-7, it might not be the marquee matchup of the week but is an interesting wagering equation nonetheless. After two losses on the road in straight weeks, the Jags look forward to coming home for a little homestand. On Sunday, however, it looked pretty bad in a 42-20 loss to the Titans. The Bucs, however, showed some fire with a 35-22 road-win over a surging Falcons team. Who can get the job done in this one?
Tampa in Better Form, But What About the Matchups?
If watching these teams last week, the nod would go to the Bucs as to who looks better, but in this league, it’s all about how the teams match up across different areas. Whereas the Jaguars saw their dicey run-defense demolished last week by the Titans and Derrick Henry, this isn’t the Bucs forte, as their run-game lags far behind their aerial abilities with Jameis Winston and Company. The Jaguars’ secondary is quite serviceable even after losing Jalen Ramsey. With Ronnie Harrison (questionable), Jarrod Wilson, AJ Bouye, Tre Herndon, and DJ Hayden, they are pretty stout, while making a lot of plays, something that could resonate against a Tampa aerial-attack that can be mistake-prone.
Tampa this season has been pretty good in their front seven on defense. Their run-stoutness could partly be a byproduct of teams excelling so easily through the air, but that’s not the whole story. With a playmaking D-line with Vita Vea, Ndamukong Suh, and Jason Pierre-Paul, they can get after it. The middle is fortified with hitters like blossoming rookie Josh Allen, along with NFL co-sack leader Shaquil Barrett, and Lavonte David. Look for them to make life a little harder on Nick Foles this week, along with Leonard Fournette, who has cooled down some after a big start to the season.
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Big Angles for Jacksonville
Still, I see the Jacksonville run-game being good enough to set up the aerial-attack, something that should manifest at home against this Tampa pass-defense, which is solidly substandard. Since returning two games ago, Nick Foles has been rusty and should be coming around, putting to better use a ball-catching crew with which he is getting more familiar, including DJ Chark, Chris Conley, and Dede Westbrook, along with Fournette catching some balls, as well. It’s not an altogether bad bunch. Against a Tampa team allowing more than 30 points per game on average, this is a spot where Foles and this offense can thrive.
Tampa can certainly rush the passer and have playmaking ability of their own. But Jacksonville’s playmaking “D” might be what we see more of on Sunday. Winston already has 20 picks on the season, while some fumbles have also been costly. The Tampa defense can make plays too, and they can get turnovers, but Foles typically doesn’t make a ton of mistakes, and it might be the Jaguars’ defense that has a better chance of registering some game-changing plays.
Obviously, with both teams at 4-7, not everything goes according to plan for these squads, bringing variables and X-factors more into play. At some point this season after being injured and not shining in his first two games back, Foles is going to want to do something to justify the many millions the Jags threw his way and what better spot than this? And while they have the same record, you could say the Jags are a bit more of a dependable football product overall. The flip side to that coin is that the Bucs have a higher gear and are more capable perhaps of playing well above their normal form, as we’ve seen a few times already this season. And against a Jaguars’ defense that has allowed a combined 75 points in their last two games, that’s a distinct possibility this week.
Which Defense Can Thrive Here?
In many ways, this is what this game comes down to. And with two offensive lines that struggle, it takes on even more importance. Again, the Jaguars’ defense purports itself a lot better against pass-dominant teams. Tampa has shown a little more fire in the backfield this season with Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber at least offering a semblance of a ground-attack. I don’t see that being enough to run over the Jags’ front, however, and if the Jaguars can see their pass-defense thrive, with some big plays, they could control this game.
Then again, the thought of this Tampa front on “D” going against the Jags’ O-line isn’t terribly promising either. The difference is that Foles will be getting rid of the ball against a Tampa secondary that is struggling, even with support coming up front more often than not. When Winston is under siege, finding openings, even with superior receiving talent in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin, who are both already over 1000 yards, won’t be as easy.
Take the Home Favorite
Tampa has the higher ceiling, but are less solid overall. I think the Jaguars are due and in particular, Nick Foles. This is a spot where he should thrive, and I think he’ll be angling hard to do just that. There are elements of this matchup that are indeed troubling, and this is one of those Tampa games where there are a lot of reasons to go against them, and it still doesn’t mean you won’t look up midway through the second quarter and see the Bucs up 17-0. With an 8-14 combined record against the spread, neither team has proven to be in any way reliable. I just see enough big plays on offense and a key turnover or two turning this one in the Jags’ favor. I’m taking Jacksonville.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Jacksonville Jaguars minus one point.
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