Week 9: Buccaneers at Texans prediction
While the Buccaneers should find a few different ways to win, this has trap game written all over it.
Houston has shown a ton of grit this season and won't be as easy an out as it seemed earlier in the year. Then again, the same could be said about the Bucs, who were similarly written off as an afterthought before the season even started and have since turned things around.
C.J. Stroud looks like the real deal for the Texans, and DeMeco Ryans is coaching the team up right. Houston boasts key wins over Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, and should have beaten Atlanta in Week 5, so they're definetly a threat to take seriously.
Tampa Bay can't coast into this game or expect it to be a rebound after a tough matchup in Buffalo. There's a universe where the Bucs fall back on their early season success by dropping the Thursday night game to the Bills and then letting the hangover from that game cost them another a week later against Houston.
Everything about this game suggests a defensive duel, which is where the Bucs have the upper hand. As great as Houston has looked this season compared to where they were expected to be, Tampa Bay has the superior defense and it will be going up against a rookie quarterback.
This is the quintessential game where the Bucs defense can carry the team to win if Baker can manage the game correctly on offense. This doesn't need to be a flashy win, especially after the game in Buffalo, it just needs to be one where the Bucs don't beat themselves.
Buccaneers record: 5-3