(6-8, 6-8 ATS)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(8-6, 8-5-1 ATS)
It might mean everything, and it might mean absolutely nothing. Either way, NFL betting fans are going to love to sink their teeth into this battle at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday, as the Seattle Seahawks face off with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
To the Seahawks, this game means absolutely nothing if the St. Louis Rams beat the San Francisco 49ers earlier in the day. Either way, next week's game against the Rams at home would be the NFC West Championship Game. It means everything though, if the Niners win that game, as Seattle would likely need to win both of its last two games to get into the dance. The Seahawks have lost four of their last five and six of their last eight to put themselves into this awkward position. Last week's loss to the Atlanta Falcons marked the fourth time in the last five games and sixth in the last eight in which at least 33 points were allowed by a defense that has been suspect at best all year long. Offensively, there really isn't much of a running game to speak of, as RB Marshawn Lynch never really has had any holes opened up by his offensive line, and QB Matt Hasselbeck hasn't been dominating to say the least either. A 12/17 TD/INT ratio is embarrassing for a quarterback trying to lead his team to the playoffs, and the fact that Hasselbeck has not yet reached 3,000 yards passing leaves a lot to be desired as well.
The Bucs knew that their season was teetering on the brink of elimination against the Atlanta Falcons when they were dropped after blowing a huge lead in the second half. The narrow escape against the Washington Redskins was still living on the edge. The defeat last week against the Detroit Lions though, might have been that final shove off the ledge into oblivion this year. This game means nothing to the Bucs if both the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants win in Week 16, but it means absolutely everything if one of them lose, especially if the loser is New Orleans. If that's the case, a win would set up a playoff game in the Bayou next weekend, where the winner would become a Wild Card, and the loser would be most likely out of the postseason. It's time for QB Josh Freeman to shine against a defense that has been questionable. He will reach the 3,000 yard barrier this week barring a catastrophe. Freeman has been solid, throwing for 2,959 yards and 18 TDs against six picks this year. RB LeGarrette Blount is coming off of a triple digit performance on the ground and should be watched out for as well.
This is just an ugly game with an ugly line that you just don't want to make a call about. We find it strange that the Lions were 5.5 point underdogs last week and beat the Bucs, yet the hosts are bigger favorites this week against a team on the verge of the playoffs. We'll take our chances that the Rams beat the Niners and that Head Coach Pete Carroll decides to call off the dogs this week.
NFL Free Pick: Tampa Bay Buccaneers -6