The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are heading across the gulf to take on the Houston Texans this Sunday (11/5/23). Get Buccaneers vs. Texans odds, picks and predictions below as our best bet is under 40 points.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Houston Texans Prediction
Coming into the season, the expectations for both of these teams were as low as possible; they were both expected to be in the race to pick first overall, even though the Texans theoretically drafted their franchise quarterback in this year’s draft. But both squads have surprised many with their performances, as they’re both sitting at a modest but respectable 3-4 record through seven games.
The Texans started 0-2 before catching fire, while the Bucs are in a 3-game skid, but they’ve still been competitive; they lost by three points to the division-rival Falcons, who also beat the Texans, and then by a touchdown to the Bills in Buffalo after a very close Hail Mary attempt fell flat. Both teams are much more in the hunt for a division title than they were supposed to be this deep into the season, but with a loss, either one could start on a path towards the bottom-dwelling team they were supposed to be.
These teams are also similar in the sense that they are very pass-first on offense, although it can be argued that Tampa’s successes are driven more by their defense than any aspect of the offense. Baker Mayfield has once again shown life with his back against the wall, putting up unspectacular yet respectable numbers after many fans and pundits thought his career was essentially over. Houston has had a QB surprise as well; second overall pick CJ Stroud is the frontrunner to win Offensive Rookie of the Year after a historic start to his career, although that loss to Carolina and top pick Bryce Young has to sting just a bit, and could perhaps serve as fuel for Stroud going forward.
Without any semblance of a run game to support either of them, Mayfield and Stroud could both be in for a tough Sunday. Both pass defenses have been fairly weak, so opportunities through the air could exist, but neither passing attack is quite lethal enough to find high-volume success on its own.
This could be a very closely fought and entertaining game as long as you like defense; both offenses will struggle to move the ball solely through the air. They’ve both also been brutal in the red zone, Houston ranks 26th in the league in red zone efficiency, while Tampa is at 28th, and both defenses are top 10 in the same category with the Bucs actually topping that list.
As for a side, I’d lean towards Tampa and their defensive superiority, but with the number set at 2.5 there’s not enough value there. Stick to the total; the actual result and margin could get messy, but points should definitely be at a premium.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Houston Texans Prediction: Under 40 Points (-110)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Houston Texans Best Odds
The Texans are 2.5 point favorites at home, or -150 on the moneyline compared to +125 for the Buccaneers. The total is set at a fairly low 40, with -110 odds on either side.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Houston Texans Key Injuries
Key defensive lineman Vita Vea is listed as questionable for the Bucs, while Texans defensive back Derek Stingley is still on the IR
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Houston Texans Key Matchups
Neither team can really run the football very well, so making gains through the air will be key on both sides- let’s see who could be the key contributors in that pursuit.
Buccaneers Pass Catchers vs. Texans Secondary
The receiving group in Tampa, or at least the top players, is unquestionably the biggest factor that allowed Mayfield to have a career renaissance of sorts in West Florida. Mike Evans has shown once again that he is a timeless marvel, he’s on pace for yet another thousand-yard season with 33 catches for 507 yards, and a team-best five touchdowns, half of Mayfield’s passing scores. Chris Godwin continues to be one of the league’s best second options, as he actually leads the team with 38 catches but has gotten a bit less per reception than Evans and is sitting at 452 yards with just one score.
Houston’s secondary is actually ranked sixth by PFF, but the results haven’t always shown on the scoresheet. Steven Nelson has been a key contributor as the team’s best cornerback, while Blake Cashman has provided some great underneath support as a strong coverage linebacker, top-10 as per PFF. It’s a fairly deep group, but we’ll have to see if they have the high-end guys to run with the Bucs’ best.
Texans Offensive Line vs. Buccaneers Pass Rush
The Texans have done a pretty good job of protecting Stroud, as he’s been pressured on just 33% of his snaps, the 26th most out of 36 qualifiers. That being said, he’s near the bottom of the barrel in PFF’s passing grade when pressured, with just four of those 36 quarterbacks ranking below him, and it’s an ugly group, featuring Daniel Jones and P.J. Walker. He hasn’t made a big time throw while pressured, but he’s recorded four turnover worthy plays. Laremy Tunsil has been fantastic at left tackle when healthy, but everyone else around him really needs to take a step up, especially center Jarrett Patterson.
Tampa’s pass rush doesn’t grade particularly well, but there are still some talented players for the Texans to deal with. Defensive tackle Vita Vea, who is banged up right now, leads the team with an impressive 3.5 sacks from an interior spot, while Joe Tryon-Shoyinka has three off the edge. Shaquil Barrett hasn’t racked up the sacks this year, but with a PFF grade of 81.9 and an average of nearly three total pressures per game, he’s well on his way to getting some results.