The Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. The game is scheduled for kickoff at 1:00 PM. ET.
In week 11, the Buccaneers went into Philadelphia and embarrassed the Eagles. Jameis Winston, the number one overall pick in last year’s draft, had a breakout performance. Winston threw for 246 yards and five touchdowns with zero interceptions. The Buccaneers piled up 45 points by the end of the contest. Going into Sunday, Tampa Bay is riding a modest two game winning streak.
The Colts are still without Andrew Luck for the near future. That, however, has not been a problem. In Luck’s absence, Matt Hasselbeck has won all three of his starts this season. He’s thrown five touchdowns to only two interceptions. Last week, against the Falcons, he helped orchestrate a second half comeback that erased a 14 point deficit that led to Adam Vinatieri’s go ahead field goal in the closing minute of the game. Hasselbeck, now 40 years old, has proven himself a more than capable replacement.
Early in the season, Tampa Bay struggled to play consistently. Winston turned the ball over and the defense struggled to slow opposing offenses. The last few weeks, Winston has done a better job protecting the ball and the Buccaneers offense has effectively run the ball with Doug Martin. Winston has struggled playing at home this season, throwing 8 interceptions to only 5 touchdowns. On the flipside, Winston has played remarkable well on the road this year. He’s thrown 10 touchdowns and only one interception. Going into Lucas Oil Stadium, Winston will look to continue his road dominance.
A key player to watch for the Buccaneers this week is Doug Martin. Against the Eagles, Martin rushed for 235 yards on 27 carries. He did not, however, record a touchdown in the game. As a team the Buccaneers rushed for 284 yards on 42 carries. Indianapolis has given up an average of 113 yards per game, good enough for 20th in the league against the run. The Buccaneers are ranked second in rushing this season averaging 142 yards per game. The play of Jameis Winston needs to continue to trend upwards, but the biggest matchup in this game is Martin against the Colts leaky run defense.
A key player to watch for the Colts this week is Greg Toler. Toler and the rest of the Indianapolis secondary will have to cover Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson. Against the Eagles, Winston threw a few jump balls and the two tall receivers easily attacked the ball at its highest point. Greg Toler is not a short corner, but the height difference is a clear disadvantage. If Vontae Davis is not ready to go, then Toler is going to match up with Jackson. The size advantage for the Buccaneers is an area of concern for the Colts secondary.
The Colts are a slight favorite to win this game. Matt Hasselbeck relies on short, quick throws to move the ball down field. The running game of the Colts is abysmal. Frank Gore is a solid veteran but the Colts offensive line has not created the needed push up front. Against the Falcons, Gore rushed for 34 yards on 14 carries. Most of Hasselbeck’s passing yards came after the catch. If the Buccaneers can limit the yards after the catch and force Hasselbeck to go vertical then the Colts will struggle in this game.
Colts Vs Buccaneers Week 12 Betting Lines
Both teams enter this week with a 5-5 record. The Colts are in first place in the AFC South, while the Buccaneers are fighting for a Wild Card spot. Every game from here on out is important to both teams’ playoff chances, however, with that said, the Colts the more desperate team. Sometimes desperation can motivate, and sometimes it forces teams into mistakes. Tampa has the better defense and Winston has the height advantage at receiver. If the Colts cannot stop the run, then the Buccaneers win easy.
Play: Buccaneers +3