Thursday Night Football has all the appearances of a mismatch on paper. However, paper has not been exactly kind to the Buffalo Bills this season, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been scrappy so far. Could we see an upset in primetime?
The Bills are 4-3, but their record doesn’t do well to show their roller-coaster season. They started off the season losing to the New York Jets, who had just watched Aaron Rodgers go down for the season. Then they shot up to 3-1, capped off with a 48-20 thrashing of the Miami Dolphins.
Quarterback Josh Allen hasn’t exactly struggled, but this team expects him to put them on his back and win games. That has struggled to happen in a few games now. Just as importantly, the defense has failed to get key stops in those losses to secure wins.
When you look at the difference between teams with good records and bad records, the tale usually comes down to how well they managed to win one-score games. Buffalo is 1-3 in those games so far this season.
The Bucs aren’t supposed to have three wins. After Tom Brady officially retired (again), many expected them to fall off after going all in for the Brady era. The team wasn’t able to draft one of the highly sought-after rookie quarterbacks. They ended up rolling into training camp with a competition between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask. Mayfield won the job.
This Tampa team has embraced Mayfield the way the Cleveland Browns originally did when they drafted him first overall in the 2018 draft. He has put together some really nice games. However, the real reason this team has three wins is their defense has been spectacular. Only one team has scored over 20 points against them, and that was the Philadelphia Eagles (25).
If this team gets the upset, Mayfield will have managed the game well enough to not screw up a really nice game from his defense.
Can the Bills keep up with the Dolphins in the AFC East, or will the Bucs get over .500 and meet up with the Falcons on top of the NFC South?
Here is what our staff thinks.
Come join us later for tonight’s open thread!