The Cincinnati Bengals will travel south to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday afternoon at Raymond James Stadium in a game that will have major playoff implications.
Cincinnati (9-4) is on a five-game win streak and can keep pace with the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North — or even pass them — with a win Sunday. Last week, Joe Burrow threw touchdown passes in a 23-10 win over the Cleveland Browns. Wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase had a huge game with 10 catches for 119 yards and a score.
Tampa Bay (6-7) leads the NFC South, but Carolina and Atlanta are just one game back. The Buccaneers had a disastrous trip to San Francisco last Sunday, losing 35-7 to the 49ers. Tom Brady threw two interceptions and Tampa Bay was never in the game, rushing for just 69 yards.
Caesars Sportsbook lists the Bengals as a 3.5-point favorite with an over/under of 44.
Let’s take a closer look at the odds and trends:
Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Time/TV: 4:25 p.m. ET Sunday, CBS
Point spread (from Caesars Sportsbook): Bengals -3.5
Money line: Bengals -195; Buccaneers +162
Analysis: The Football Power Index at ESPN gives the Bengals a 67% chance of winning Sunday. Tampa Bay is a fortunate 6-7 team, needing fourth-quarter heroics from Brady to win games against the New Orleans Saints and Los Angeles Rams earlier in the season.
The Buccaneers have been a little off all season. Defensively, they remain tough as long as defensive tackle Vita Vea is healthy, but the offense has been mostly out of sync and searching for answers. They are unlikely to find any against the Bengals, who are warming up at the right time.
It feels like Burrow still has better football in him as Cincinnati hits the final stretch of the season. Chase showed he is fully recovered from his hip injury, and the running game with Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine is solid. Expect Brady to be motivated going up against one of the new star quarterbacks in the league, but the Bengals’ defense will make the necessary stops in the second half.