Kent Tukeli | Thu 05/10/2017 - 13:16 EDT

NFL Thursday Night Predictions

NFL Thursday Night Predictions

New England at Tampa Bay NFL Picks

The NFL regular season has been a bag full of surprises this year, including the New England Patriots plummeting to a .500 record after four games. Nobody expected the Pats to be dismantled by the Chiefs or picked apart by the Panthers.

If New England doesn’t beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they’ll need a near-perfect rest of the season to challenge for the AFC crown. The Bucs managed to hold off the desperate New York Giants after a big loss to the Vikings, thanks in part to a solid performance by Jameis Winston.

My Team's Next MatchDallas Cowboys

A gut-check win against the Giants might make it tempting to pick the Buccaneers over the Patriots, but New York’s no longer a cohesive NFL team.

The spread for this game is six points because New England started slowly, and they’re playing on the road. A spread under a touchdown is good value for a Super Bowl favorites, so pick the Patriots to win by more than six points.

New England currently has the second worst defense and the second best offense in the league, while Tampa Bay allowed the moribund Giants offense to score 23 points. The Pats should score around 35 points while the Bucs put up at least 20. If you’re playing the over/under for this game, pick over on a total of 55 points.

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New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview

A Bill Belichick team hasn’t displayed such bad defense since the Patriots hired him to take over for Pete Carroll in 2000. The 2000 Patriots finished with a 5-11 record while giving up more than 21 points a game. The current version of the Patriots has allowed 32 points per game this year, which could be considered the worst stretch the team’s experienced in 17 years.

There’s no way New England can produce enough points to overcome putrid defense. Expect Belichick to focus on fixing defense this week.

Ironically, most NFL pundits were concerned about Tom Brady because of his age, but he’s been solid as ever. Despite injuries to his receivers, Brady’s thrown 10 touchdowns and no interceptions while maintaining an excellent passer rating of 116.6.

Tom’s clearly an ageless wonder, showing that it doesn’t matter who’s on the other end of his passes. Tampa’s only solid defensive game this year was against the hapless Bears, who recently switched starting QBs. The Buccaneers defense won’t be able to stop New England’s offense.

After forced into taking a week one bye due to natural disaster, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers adjusted well and took care of business against Chicago. However, the Bucs were exposed the week after when they met the Minnesota Vikings.

Without Sam Bradford, the Vikings gained 125 yards on the ground and 369 yards in the air, good enough for a 34-17 win over the Bucs. If Tampa’s defense couldn’t handle the Vikings and barely beat the Giants, there’s little they can do to stop New England.

The main path to victory for the Bucs would be another collapse of the New England defense this week. Jameis Winston’s growing into a strong pivot, supported by great receivers like Mike Evans, Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson. It’s doubtful that New England will remain among the worst defenses in the league in week five, which reduces the likelihood of Tampa Bay blitzing the Patriots through a variety of air strikes.

It’s doubtful that New England will remain among the worst defenses in the league in week five, which reduces the likelihood of Tampa Bay blitzing the Patriots through a variety of air strikes.

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NFL Thursday Night Football Schedule

The first month of Thursday night football has been as wacky as the rest of the schedule, including big upsets against the Patriots and Bengals, along with an offensive explosions by the Rams and 49ers. Teams putting up big points on Thursday is the only consistent trend after four weeks.

As the schedule moves into the heart of the NFL season, teams settle into their identity for the year. Last week, the Packers took care of the Bears with little care, with Aaron Rodgers settling into his Pro Bowl routine. Look for the Patriots to settle into their role as AFC favorites.

Date Matchups Picks
Sep. 7 Chiefs at  Patriots  Patriots (-9.5, -550, Over 48.5)
Sep. 14 Texans  at Bengals Cincinnati (-6.5, -255, Under 38)
Sep. 21 Rams at  49ers Rams -3 (-110), -145, Under 39.5 (-105)
Sep. 28 Bears at Packers Packers -7.5 (-105), -370, Over 44.5 (-105)
Oct. 5 Patriots at Buccaneers Patriots -6 (-115), -250, Over 55 (-110)
Oct. 12 Eagles at Panthers - -
Oct. 19 Chiefs at  Raiders - -
Oct. 26 Dolphins at Ravens - -
Oct. 29 Vikings at Browns - -
Nov. 2 Bills at Jets - -
Nov. 9 Seahawks at Cardinals - -
Nov. 16 Titans at Steelers - -
Nov. 30 Redskins at Cowboys - -
Dec. 7 Saints at Falcons - -
Dec. 14 Broncos at Colts - -
Dec. 16 Bears at Lions - -
Dec. 16 Chargers at Chiefs - -
Dec. 23 Colts at Ravens - -
Dec. 25 Steelers at Texans - -

Category : NFL

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