By Tim Graham
TAMPA, Fla. -- Things change quickly in the NFL.
Last week, we were talking about the Buffalo Bills being a favorite three, maybe four straight games.
Now we're back to the idea they probably won't be favored again for the rest of the season.
The Bills are 2.5-point underdogs this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium. Next week, the Bills will visit the Jacksonville Jaguars, winners in four of their past five games.
Maybe the Bills will be favored when they host the Miami Dolphins in Week 16. Maybe.
First, though, let's take a look at the Bills' chances to cover today.
As always, Las Vegas handicapper and Sloan native Joel Staniszewski has some trends for us to consider:
- Buffalo is 1-4 against the spread and straight up over its past five games.
- Buffalo is 1-6 against the spread in its past seven road games (not counting Toronto because, ahem, that was a home game).
- Tampa Bay is 4-1 against the spread over its past five games.
Staniszewski pointed out, "These trends would have you think that the Bucs are the play." Then he added these:
- Buffalo is 4-0 against the spread after allowing more than 150 yards rushing.
- Buffalo is 7-2 over its past nine games following an against-the-spread loss.
- Tampa Bay is 4-17 against the spread in its past 21 home games versus a team with a losing record.
- Tampa Bay is 1-6 against the spread over its past seven games after allowing more than 250 passing yards previous game.
"Looking at these trends," Staniszewski said, "it's hard to try to find a play here.
"If we can establish a strong run game and hang onto the football this week, the Bills have a good chance to win this game. Let's hope for the best."
The Bills are 6-6 against the spread for the season. The Buccaneers are 5-7.