When the 2022-23 NFL schedule came out, the Christmas night matchup of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Arizona Cardinals was one that many people were looking forward to. Both teams made the playoffs last season, and many anticipated that both would be a playoff team once again this season. However, it looks as though only one of the teams will be in the playoffs, as the Cardinals have had an abysmal season.
Let’s take a look at each of the two teams, and then we’ll give you our NFL Betting predictions for this special Christmas night matchup.
A Christmas Night NFC Clash | NFL Betting Preview for Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Arizona
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sitting at 6-8, you wouldn’t think that Tampa would be in playoff contention. However, the NFC South has been the worst division in football this season and the Bucs are currently sitting at the top of that division. Barring something crazy, Tampa will be the #4 seed in the NFC Playoffs.
Tampa Bay’s offense has struggled all season long. Even with Tom Brady still at the helm, Tampa is only averaging just over 17 points per game. With no running game to speak of, no replacement for Rob Gronkowski, and Mike Evans and Chris Godwin not having good years, this offense has been a disappointment.
The Buccaneers defense has been strong again this season. With a very good defensive line, teams have struggled to run the ball against them. Even with some key injuries, the Bucs have had a very good season on the defensive side of the ball.
Over the next few weeks, you better get a good look at Kliff Kingsbury, as this may be the last time we see him in the NFL. Kingsbury is on the hot seat, and we won’t be surprised if the Cardinals choose to go in a different direction at the end of the season. Kingsbury was thought to be one of the better offensive minds in the game, but the league has caught up with all of his schemes, and the Cardinals offense has been fairly easy to slow down.
Kyler Murray is out for the season with a torn ACL. Colt McCoy will be out this week due to injury, so Trace McSorley will get the call to lead the Cardinals in this one. The dual-threat quarterback will have his work cut out for him against a stellar Tampa defense.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, they have the worst scoring defense in the league. They’re giving up the most points in the league, as they have given up just over 26 points per game. Between injuries, and some big mistakes, this young defense still has a lot of improving to do.
This is the game that Brady and the Bucs need. Their offense has been struggling, but not nearly as bad as the Arizona defensive struggles. The Bucs are favored by six points. Arizona is 0-5 against the spread in their last five December games. We just can’t see the Cardinals and McSorley hanging around with the Buccaneers. Tampa needs this one to solidify their lead in the NFC South. Tampa wins 28-21.