Oakland Raiders at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (PK, 49 o/u)
In a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVII, the Oakland Raiders (5-2 SU, 4-3 ATS) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS) square off Sunday at Raymond James Stadium (Oct. 30 at 1:00 PM Eastern). Oakland looks to improve to 5-0 on the road, while Tampa tries to earn its first home win.
Despite inconsistencies from quarterback Jameis Winston, the Buccaneers have won two in a row and are back to .500 on the season. The second-year signal caller has struggled mightily against the league’s elite defenses. Each of Tampa’s three losses have come against teams with a top-10 defense (based on yards allowed per play). In these games, Winston has thrown eight interceptions and just four touchdowns.
The Bucs’ wins have seen Winston play efficiently against some of the league’s lesser defensive units. The Tampa quarterback has thrown eight touchdowns and two interceptions in wins over the Falcons, Panthers, and 49ers. The good news for Winston is that Oakland has the worst defense he has seen this season. The Raiders give up a league-high 6.7 yards per play and are unlikely to disrupt the Bucs offense.
Coach Jack Del Rio and the Raiders have spent the entire week in Florida. Last Sunday, Oakland improved on its perfect road record by dismantling the Jaguars in Jacksonville. Instead of returning to California, the Raiders decided to stay in the Sunshine State in preparation for their matchup with the Bucs.
Quarterback Derek Carr has led an impressive and balanced offensive attack. The Raiders are arguably the league’s biggest surprise through seven games. Supporters of the Silver and Black are rightfully excited and starting to dream about a return to the postseason. However, those high hopes will likely be tamed a bit Sunday.
The Raiders have picked apart some below average pass defenses and now must go against the seventh-best in the NFL. They’ve been the fortunate beneficiaries of some well-timed turnovers but are unlikely to receive those gifts from this Tampa team. Oakland is improved but not enough to justify a pick-em point-spread in this spot.
Look for Jameis Winston to lead a well controlled attack and the Bucs to get the W.
Pick: Buccaneers (PK)
Photo credit: Keith Allison (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].