NFC, AFC Division Leaders Meet in Crucial ‘Thursday Night Football’ Matchup

Two NFL division leaders – one with a not-so-impressive record – will meet on Thursday Night Football. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face the Baltimore Ravens in a game the Bucs need to win if they want any chance of saving their season.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Baltimore Ravens running back Gus Edwards celebrates after scoring a TD against the Cleveland Browns. The Ravens face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday Night Football. (Image: Getty Images)

Tampa Bay has three wins and four losses heading into tonight’s game. Most recently, they suffered an embarrassing 21-3 loss to the Carolina Panthers.

Baltimore has four wins and three losses following a string of close games. They’re coming off a win against the Cleveland Browns, and are hoping to topple Tom Brady and the Bucs tonight.

Bucs Against the Ropes

The Buccaneers lead the NFC South and the Ravens are in a tie at the top of the AFC North. However, Tampa Bay’s position at the top of the division doesn’t really mean much, as all four of the teams have losing records, and their loss to the Panthers – who were 1-5 at the time – was a wake-up call.

  Ravens Buccaneers
Moneyline -105 -115
Spread +1 (-110) -1 (-110)
Over/under 45.5 (-110)  
  Courtesy of BetMGM  

The Bucs take the field with a lot of problems, having accumulated two consecutive losses. They have a chance to climb out of the slump by defeating the Ravens in front of their home crowd.

Tampa Bay has yet to suffer three straight losses during the Tom Brady era. The Bucs have taken back-to-back losses in two of the last three seasons, but answered with at least four straight wins.

Baltimore couldn’t count on QB Lamar Jackson too much last week, since his performance was nothing to brag about. He completed nine of 16 passes for just 120 yards – less than half of what Browns QB Jacoby Brissett put up.

However, Jackson is great on the ground. He rushed for 59 yards last week, putting him in an elite segment of QBs. Still, it took a couple of Browns penalties, and the accuracy of kicker Justin Tucker’s foot, to save the day.

Credit has to be given to running back Gus Edwards as well. The former Rutgers star was responsible for the Ravens’ two TDs, making a return to the field for the first time since an injury sidelined him in 2020.

Ravens Get the Nod

The game is leaning toward the Ravens, since they have won the last four meetings between these two teams. Tampa Bay has never been able to defeat head coach John Harbaugh.

Being an underdog is something Brady isn’t accustomed to. This has happened to him 12 times in his career, but he ultimately led his team to victory in nine of those games. In addition, his performance helped cover the spread in all but one of them.

On paper, the Bucs have a slight advantage with sportsbooks tonight, but haven’t proven that they deserve it. Until game day, the Ravens were ahead on the moneyline almost everywhere.

If Sunday was any indication, neither of these two teams will be turning up the heat tonight. They’re both coming off a short break and are a little banged up.

Although these two teams have strong offenses, this game will likely only come close to touching the over/under. The under has hit in six of Tampa Bay’s last seven and in all of Baltimore’s last four games.

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