Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. San Diego Chargers
Date and Time: Sunday, December 4, 2016, 4:25 p.m. ET
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA
Week 13 NFL Odds at BookMaker.eu: Chargers -3.5, 47
Buccaneers vs. Chargers TV Coverage: FOX
It’s taken some time, but Mike Smith’s defense finally looks to be coming into its own. Since allowing the Falcons to drop 43 points on their head back in Week 9, Tampa Bay’s defense has allowed 10 points to the Chicago Bears, 17 points to the Kansas City Chiefs, and three points to what was at the time a resurgent Seattle Seahawks offense. The job it did embarrassing Russell Wilson and company last week was an eye opener to say the least.
It will only get harder from here if Tampa Bay is to become a bona fide playoff contender. This stop in sunny San Diego will be followed by a crucial home tilt with New Orleans. Then Jamison Winston and company hit the road for Dallas before closing the regular season rivalry with the Saints out in the Superdome. They’ll then close the year at home versus Carolina. Though it’s a non-conference game this week, it doesn’t get any bigger for Tampa Bay who will attempt to go 2-2 straight up against the likely best division in the AFC.
For all intents and purposes, the Chargers likely have no shot of making the playoffs even if they win out. That likely won’t stop San Diego from relishing the role of playing spoiler with big games still lined up to play within the division. For now, they’ll be taking on the NFC South over the next two weeks with a trip to Carolina scheduled for next week.
Had some bounces gone the team’s way through the first five weeks of the season, we’d likely be talking about San Diego battling Oakland for the division lead instead of it bringing up the rear of the division standings. Still, the Chargers made their bed early and now they’re forced to lie in it. The last time Philip Rivers took to his home field, his pick-six with just over a minute remaining cost his team the game against the Dolphins. He’ll likely take the field determined to make good for that mistake in this one.
Matchup to Watch
Tampa Bay does a better job keeping its quarterback upright and gets more pressure on opposing quarterbacks than San Diego. The Bucs were relentless last week against Seattle sacking Wilson six times and hurrying him countless others. The Chargers give up an average of 2.4 sacks per game, and if it fails to give Rivers much of any time in the pocket, San Diego’s offense will be hard pressed to get into any sort of passing rhythm unless Melvin Gordon finds a way on the ground.
Buccaneers vs. Chargers Free Picks
Save for a blowout in what now looks to be a fluke at Arizona, the Bucs have been nothing short of moneymakers against the NFL odds at BookMaker.eu when on the road. They’ve already taken down the Falcons and Chiefs in enemy territory and also logged wins at Carolina and San Francisco. All four games were won outright as underdogs.
Winston and Mike Evans might just be the best passing duo the league currently has to offer, and each is likely to excel in a big way in this matchup versus the Chargers No. 26 ranked pass defense. Look for some points to hit the board and for the Bucs to find a way to secure their fourth straight victory.
Buccaneers vs. Chargers ATS Pick: Buccaneers +3.5 at BookMaker.eu
Buccaneers vs. Chargers Score Prediction: Buccaneers 31 - Chargers 28