The 3-4 Buccaneers come into this game on the verge of collapse. They have lost four of their last five games. A home loss to the Ravens tonight would be a devastating blow to their playoff chances. The Buccaneers can’t stop the run, having given up 150+ rushing yards in three of their last four games. They also can’t run the ball; the Buccaneers haven’t exceeded 75 yards rushing in any of their last six games. With a one dimensional offense that is entirely dependent on the brilliance of Tom Brady, it comes as no surprise the Buccaneers have crumbled as Brady’s brilliance has faded. Tom Brady has looked like a very average quarterback this season. If he is unable to turn that around at age 45, this Buccaneers team will struggle all year. The only thing keeping this team out of the ranks of the dregs of the league this season is the Buccaneers defense, which, despite its troubles against the run, has done a good job keeping opponents from scoring much.
The 4-3 Ravens come into this game having alternated wins and losses each week this season. The Ravens offense has struggled to score in recent weeks. The Ravens run the ball extremely well, but their passing game has fallen off a cliff, failing to reach 200 yards in each of the last four games. Fortunately for the Ravens they may not need much of a passing game against a Buccaneers team that struggles to stop the run.
The Ravens have won each of the last four meetings between these two teams. I expect that to continue tonight as the Ravens extend the Buccaneers’ woes. I’m taking the Ravens to pull off a mild upset on the road against an aging and mediocre Buccaneers team.
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