Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-8 SU 4-8 ATS) vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-9 SU 4-1-1 ATS) Week 14 NFL EverBank Field, Jacksonville, FL, 1 PM ET Sunday December 11, 2011 on FOX
by Jason Green, Professional Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TB -3/JAX +3
Over/Under Total: 41
Bet the Bucs/Jags game at an online bookie that offers you -105 odds on sides and totals instead of the more expensive -110 option that other books offer: 5Dimes.
Both the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Jacksonville Jaguars will not be making the playoffs this season, but each can get back on track and get a little Sunshine State bragging rights with a win in this non-conference match up.
After a good start to the season things have fallen apart for the Bucs, who have lost 6 straight and only have 1 away win this season. People did not expect much for the Jags since they inserted a rookie QB under center and they have lost 3 straight and in those games only scored an average of just over 12 ppg. The Jags have a solid defense, but did not show that in giving up 38 points to the Chargers in a loss on Monday night.
The Bucs’ defense has been terrible in their losing streak giving up an average of 30 ppg.
In their last games the Bucs lost to the Carolina Panthers 38-17 and the Jags lost to the San Diego Chargers 38-14.
Tampa QB Josh Freeman has a banged up shoulder, but should play in this game. After having a solid season last year this season is a different matter and in his last 3 games he has 6 picks and only 4 TD. He has a decent receiving corps led by WR Mike Williams and TE Kellen Winslow and while the Jags have the league’s 4th ranked pass defense they were torched on Monday night giving up 294 passing yards and 3 TD to Phillip Ricers and the Chargers. Still, I do not think Freeman will have a big game.
The Bucs’ rushing offense only ranks 25th in the league and lead RB LeGarrette Blount is in hot water after a possible fan attack. Still, he will likely play in this game and after rushing for over 100 yards in 2 straight games he only had 19 yards on 11 carries in the loss to the Panthers. The Jags’ run defense ranks 14th in the league, but the Bucs will look to establish the run and Blount will get back on track and have another good game.
Blaine Gabbert has now wowed too many Jax fans this season and it is not all his fault, as the Jags have a very weak WR corps. Still, facing a weak Tampa Bay pass defense that only ranks 27th in the league Gabbert will not have a stellar passing game, but he will manage the game well and limit his mistakes.
One bright spot for the Jags this season has been the play of RB Maurice Jones-Drew, who leads the league in rushing yards. He is the big concern for Tampa Bay in this game, especially since the Bucs only rank 29th in the league defending the run. Jones-Drew will have a HUGE game this week, as the Jags will lean heavily on him this Sunday. Last week in this blowout home loss to the Panthers the Bucs gave up 163 rushing yards.
This season the Jags have an O/U record of 2-10 and the Bucs have an O/U record of 7-5.
The Bucs are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games, 11-3-1 ATS in their last 15 road games, and have an Under record of 9-4 in their last 13 road games vs. a team with a losing home record.
The Jags are 1-3-1 ATS in their last 5 games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games, and have an Under record of 5-2 in their last 7 home games.
Jason’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Whoever made this line should be fired. Jacksonville is a superior team on both sides of the ball. Look for them to run a ball control offense with tons of rushes and short passes. The home underdog wins straight up here.
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