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Pregame Rumblings: Buffalo Bills vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Presented By DraftKings Sportsbook

Week 8 of NFL action is here and it couldn’t come fast enough for Bills fans! This week, the Buffalo Bills look to rebound from their 29-25 loss to the New England Patriots as they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers tonight in primetime (8:15 p.m. EDT) for Thursday Night Football. If there were ever a time that a team would welcome the short week, it’s this week for the Bills and their fans. Losing to the Patriots has opened the team up for criticism and lack of confidence from Bills fans and media alike.

Looking to wager on tonight’s game? Here are a few things to consider

  • The Bills opened as a -7.5 point favorite over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in NFL Week 8 odds at DraftKings Sportsbook
  • Buffalo opened at -395 on the moneyline, while Tampa Bay opened at +310
  • The over/under (point total) is set at 42.5 points
  • The Buccaneers are coming off a 16-13 loss against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 7
  • The Bills are coming off a 29-25 loss against the New England Patriots in Week 7

Will the Buffalo Bills come out of Week 8 victorious, or are they headed for a .500 heartbreak? Can the Buccaneers do to Buffalo what other less-potent offenses have done in recent weeks? Here are my thoughts and things to look for during this game...

What’s happening with Ken Dorsey and Josh Allen?

We know, the Bills are top five in total points scored for the season. I know, I know. Josh Allen leads the league in completion percentage and total touchdowns (passing/rushing). I know all the advanced metrics. I know, trust me I know. But there is something about this offense that hasn’t passed the eye test for me over the last three games. The inconsistency is an issue whether we want to admit it or not. The trio of quarterback Josh Allen, offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey and head coach Sean McDermott need to figure out how to get this offense back to what we saw against the Las Vegas Raiders, Washington Commanders and Miami Dolphins. The expectation isn’t to score every time they touch the ball, but there should be an expectation to score throughout the game as opposed to trying to come back from behind each week. It’s great when Allen brings the team back that way, but sometimes it’s just too much to overcome. And with the defense finally showing signs of missing linebacker Matt Milano, defensive tackle DaQuan Jones, and cornerback Tre’Davious White, the offense has to step up and put the defense on its shoulders for once.

Run that back!

Let James Cook, Cook. Aside from the Jacksonville Jaguars game, it seems like whenever Cook gets the ball it’s either a big play or a four-to-six-yard gain. He’s averaging 4.8 yards per carry this season on 88 carries. And while I’m personally not happy with how the Bills have taken Josh Allen’s run ability out of the offensive game plan, Cook has filled in nicely. I’d like to continue to see him get the ball in the run game but I’d also like to get him involved in space. Screen passes and James Cook would spell explosive plays. He’s elusive and has the breakaway speed to be a threat to score every time he’s in space. Give him the ball and let him cook.

Next Man Up!

Buffalo’s pass defense has struggled to defend the middle of the field without Matt Milano, who suffered a knee injury in Week 5. Their success rate allowed on passes to the middle third is 22.4% higher with Milano off the field this season. This is also in part to missing DaQuan Jones in the middle of the defensive line. So while most are concerned about Mike Evans and the impact he’s made, I’m actually looking for the defensive line to plug up the leaks we’ve had defending the run game over the last three weeks. In those three games the Bills averaged giving up 141.3 yards on the ground to their opponent.

Score Prediction: 28-17, Bills over Buccaneers

As bad as everything feels right now, the Bills are still only one game away from being first in the division and there’s a lot of time left to figure out how to correct the issues on the offensive side of the ball. The defense had its first bad game of the year but I don’t anticipate them being beat up every week from here on out. The defense has been good enough and has bailed the offense out a couple of times already this season. McDermott’s stop unit will get back more dominating performances, but the offense will need to complement the defense — and that starts with making Josh Allen more comfortable. A quick week, at home with perfect football weather is just what the doctor ordered for the Buffalo Bills to get back on the right side of the win/loss column.

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