Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(7-5, 8-4 ATS)
(5-7, 5-6-1 ATS)
The Washington Redskins have clearly run out of rope, as they need to win this game to stay mathematically alive for a chance at the postseason this year. However, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are two games in front of them heading into this NFL betting affair, are probably thinking the exact same thing, as their window of opportunity to get into the playoffs is starting to close as well.
What a difference just a few minutes of football makes. The Bucs had the Atlanta Falcons by the throat last week and let them go. Had they won that game, they would be in the midst of this mess at 8-4, which already includes the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Giants, and Green Bay Packers fighting for two postseason berths. Now, Tampa Bay is a game back of all three and will most likely be two in the rears of that coveted Wild Card spot with just three to play if it loses this one. QB Josh Freeman has to keep the wheels from really coming off. He looked jarred on the last drive of the game last week against Atlanta, and he ultimately threw an interception, and then got hit with a personal foul on the return for a late hit. Freeman has to keep his cool, just as he has done all season long. The second year man from K-State has thrown for 2,442 yards and 16 TDs against just six INTs, but if he starts to get pick happy in this one, you can bet that a Tampa Bay defense that is just doing enough to survive at 20.9 points per game allowed, isn’t going to be able to do enough to win on the road.
Washington’s campaign probably came to a close in a loss to the aforementioned Giants last week as well. Head Coach Mike Shanahan continues to cause waves in our nation’s capitol, as he has suspended troubled DT Albert Haynesworth for the rest of the season. It has been a very disappointing year for a defense that has allowed 397.3 yards per game, the most in the NFL, and this was the unit that was really supposed to be improved this year for the ‘Skins. The offense hasn’t been spectacular, but when you consider the fact that the team has been through a ton of running backs this year, things seem to be excusable. Still, QB Donovan McNabb is only leading his new mates to 333.2 yards and 18.5 points per game, and he has only had one game this year in which he has thrown for more than one TD. He’s got his sights set on a 4,000 yard year though, as McNabb has thrown for 3,149 yards already in three quarters of the season.
Tampa Bay has to be feeling the pressure right now, and though Washington looks like a team that has already given up, it might be able to come up with a relatively inspired effort at home after losing by 24 in the Meadowlands last weekend. The Redskins haven’t won a home game since October 10th. That all comes to an end on Sunday, as they will hand the Bucs the fatal blow to their season.
NFL Free Pick: Washington Redskins +2