The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a team in the NFL’s middle class much like the Houston Texans. There are usually the same eight to ten teams near the top of the standings every year and the rest of the league claws and scratches their way into the playoffs towards the end of the season. In that vain, two 3-4 football teams meet on Sunday with the winner being one of those teams and the loser likely waiting until next year. In this vain we started with the obligatory quarterback questions that seem to dominate the conversation for every team. Evan Wanish of Bucs Nation was kind enough to join us for five questions.
Battle Red Blog: Baker Mayfield has already played for four teams. Do Bucs fans see him as a long term solution or is he a stopgap until you find what you are looking for?
Evan Wanish: I think right now if you’d ask Bucs fans whether or not Baker Mayfield is the long term answer at QB most of them would say probably not, but that’s following three straight losses by the team. Earlier in the year when the team was 3-1 and Mayfield was playing well, it was a pleasant surprise to some. I’m not sure if Baker Mayfield will ever be anyone’s long term solution at QB so I’m sure the Bucs will be evaluating the position again this offseason, but I do think Mayfield has a legit shot to stick around a little longer if he can play more consistently.
BRB: The Bucs are in a dogfight with the Falcons and Saints. Does any of that surprise you!? Which team do you see being the bigger threat down the stretch?
EW: Honestly not much of it has surprised me. I know some may think of Atlanta as a surprise but I liked the moves they made this offseason. I still think this division race is going to be right between the Falcons, Saints and Bucs and it will go right down to the wire. I could see a world where each one of these teams end up winning the NFC South. As far as biggest threat, I would probably say New Orleans just because they have a bit more experience and it’s a pretty big rivalry.
BRB: Who are some players on offense and defense that Texans fans might not be familiar with but will have a huge impact on Sunday?
EW: Rookie receiver Trey Palmer has made an impact in a lot of games this season and could play a factor in this game if the Texans work hard to take away Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. Palmer has a nice size and speed combo that could hurt defenses.
On the Bucs defense, pass rusher Yaya Diaby continues to get more snaps and has shown flashes of potential in those limited sample sizes. Keep an eye on him this weekend to make an impact rushing the passer.
BRB: The Bucs are the last team we face in the division. What have you seen from the AFC South so far? On a completely different plane, which team in the NFC South do Bucs fans enjoy beating the most?
EW: I’ve seen a Texans team that has a pretty bright future. To be able to be as competitive as they have been this early with this much young talent is really encouraging. As far as the rest, I think the Jaguars are still the cream of the crop and a near elite team in the NFL. Titans are a team that needs to finally hit the reset button and the Colts should continue building around Anthony Richardson. The second question is a very easy one. It’s the Saints. For so many years, the Saints had the Bucs number, even when the Bucs had Tom Brady. Bucs fans always revel in beating New Orleans.
BRB: DraftKing Sportsbook has the Texans favored by 2.5 points. How do you see the game going? Are there any prop bets you feel comfortable recommending?
EW: I like the Bucs to cover and actually win the game this week. This could very well be the Bucs season this week. A fourth straight loss would put them at 3-5 and almost end their hopes of winning the division. I think it’s a desperate Bucs team that finds a way to get the W, even though it might not be pretty. I don’t have any specific props, but I do like the under in this game as both offenses have struggled at times this season.
We want to thank Evan for taking the time to answer our questions. It has been interesting facing off against the NFC South this season as the Texans aim to finish 2-2 within the division. We want to wish Evan and the Bucs the best of luck for the remainder of the season. Hopefully that look will begin on Monday.