Grab Tampa +3 for Your NFL Picks as Colts Won't Break Bucs Defense

Jason Lake

Thursday, November 26, 2015 2:25 PM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015 2:25 PM GMT

The Indianapolis Colts and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the same record going into Week 12. Only one team belongs in our NFL picks – and it just might be the Bucs.

Jason's 2015 record as of Nov. 25: 43-37-2 ATS; 0-1 ML (-1.00 units); 24-31 Total

 

The Legend of Jameis Winston continues to grow. It seems like only yesterday we were talking about everything but football when it came to Winston. Then we were talking about his bust potential. Winston's first pass in the NFL: a pick-six. But as the weeks went on, Winston found his footing, and now the Buccaneers are 4-2 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six games. Winston even tied Matthew Stafford's rookie record by throwing five TD passes in last week's 45-17 destruction of the Philadelphia Eagles ( –7 at home).

So we've got the Bucs in our Week 12 NFL picks, right? Well... we need to talk about the Indianapolis Colts first. They're 3-3 SU and 5-1 ATS in their last six games, so we can't write them off just yet – even with Matt Hasselbeck taking over at quarterback for the injured Andrew Luck. The Colts are 3-point home faves as we go to press; nearly 65 percent of bettors are on Tampa Bay, but over 62 percent of the action is on Indianapolis. Interesting times.

 

King Jameis
Naturally, Winston is the star of the show in Tampa, but there are other good things going on in the Sunshine State. The Bucs have a competent ground game with Doug Martin (5.0 yards per carry) and Charles Sims (4.5 yards per carry). Their offensive line ranks eighth overall in run blocking at Football Outsiders. And on the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay (5-5 SU, 6-4 ATS) is fifth overall in rush defense.

But let's get back to Winston. He had the best performance of all Week 11 quarterbacks at +173 Total DYAR, pushing him well into positive territory on the season at +343 Total DYAR. Let's not forget, Winston was at the bottom of the pile earlier this year. He still looks a bit ungainly in the pocket, and he's still prone to making the occasional gaffe, but the positives have easily outweighed the negatives on the field.

 

The Castonzo Effect
As for the Colts (5-5 SU and ATS), Luck was starting to get his groove back after a rough start and two games on the injured list with a sore shoulder. If we chuck out the first three weeks of the season, Indianapolis is 4-3 SU and 5-2 ATS with either Hasselbeck or a relatively healthy Luck under center.

Unfortunately, Luck isn't the only injured player the Colts have to worry about. LT Anthony Castonzo is expected to miss Sunday's game (1:00 p.m. ET, FOX) with a sprained right knee; RT Joe Reitz will likely move over and protect Hasselbeck's blind side. Castonzo and Reitz have been two of the better players on what's been a disappointing offensive line. If the Colts have to put, say, Todd Herremans in at right tackle this week, Tampa Bay's defensive front could end up shutting down Indy's running game – which is already on shaky ground with Frank Gore (knee, quad) missing Wednesday's practice. Yup, we're on the Bucs again this week. Interesting times.

Free NFL Pick: Take the Buccaneers +3.5 (–115) at The Greek

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