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Thursday Night Football preview: Buffalo Bills vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills will both look to put Week 7 losses behind them when they meet at Highmark Stadium on Thursday night.

The Bucs lost an important NFC South matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, going down 16-13 last time out. Todd Bowles' team are still second in the standings, though, and they will fancy their chances against an inconsistent Bills outfit.

Buffalo have lost two of their previous three, and they need to find their groove again if they are to beat the Miami Dolphins in the race to win the AFC East.

WhatTampa Bay Buccaneers @ Buffalo Bills
WhereHighmark Stadium, Buffalo
When8:15PM EST, Thursday October 26
How to watchAmazon Prime
OddsBills -9.5, Buccaneers +350 ML

The spotlight is on Allen

Bills quarterback Josh Allen remains one of the best in the NFL on his day, but the team's fanbase have not seen him firing each week.

While Allen has thrown for 1,841 yards this season, putting him sixth in the rankings, he has also gifted the ball to the opposition. He has thrown seven interceptions so far through the first seven weeks, while he has thrown a pick 6 in three consecutive games.

The 27-year-old has had a sub 91.00 rating in back-to-back games and if he is not accurate and confident, the Bills cannot win. Their rushing attack has proven to be steady but not deadly, piling the pressure on Allen's shoulders.

His only reliable target this season has been Stefon Diggs. The Bills wide receiver has recorded 55 receptions already and averaged 96.9 yards per game.

Allen has struggled to get other players involved, though, and that will need to change against the Bucs. So far, no Bills players aside from Diggs have caught more than 30 passes.

The Bucs will try to blitz to unsettle him, but that may work in his favor. Against the Blitz, Allen has thrown seven touchdowns and only one interception this season.

He is +140 to score a touchdown anytime or -110 to throw for over 263.5 yards.

Mayfield has to stand up for the Bucs

The Bucs were always going to struggle at times, especially after Tom Brady decided to retire at the end of last season.

Tampa's front office decided to hand Baker Mayfield a heavily incentivised one-year deal, and he is playing for his future as a starter in the NFL.

Mayfield has done OK in those circumstances, throwing for 1,363 yards through the first seven weeks of the season. He has thrown eight touchdown passes and only four interceptions, while he has only been sacked eight times all season.

The only other regular starter with a lower sack percentage is Patrick Mahomes, so it showcases the potential in the Bucs' offensive line. 

Mayfield has tended to start well before fading and the stats suggest the Bucs only succeed when he does.

When he has had a QB rating of 90 or less, the Bucs have lost all of their games. When he has reaches 90 or more, they are 3-0.

Mayfield is +165 to throw for 250 yards or more, and his over/under for passing yards against the Bills is 228.5

Pressure on the Bills on home turf

The Bills may be 4-3 through the first seven weeks, but two defeats in the last three games is far from ideal.

Their 25-20 defeat to the Jacksonville Jaguars should have been a wake-up call, but they limped past the New York Giants in Week 6, only winning 14-9.

A trip to the New England Patriots last week should have helped them return to winning ways, but they fell to a 29-25 defeat and their confidence levels are bound to be low.

This current Bills team feels like a different roster from the one that hammered the Miami Dolphins 48-20 at the start of October, so the Bucs will feel they can cover the +9.5 spread.

The over/under for total points is 44.0, while the Bills are -450 ML, with the Bucs +350.

Bills receiver Diggs is the favorite to score a touchdown anytime at -110, closely followed by James Cook at +125 and Rachaad White at +175.

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