NFL Thursday night: Is the ‘window closing’ on Buffalo’s title shot? Answer vs. Tampa Bay. Our pick

Al Diaz/
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BUCCANEERS (3-3) at BILLS (4-3)

Line: BUF by 8 1/2.

Cote’s pick: BUF, 27-17.

TV: 8:15 p.m., Prime Video.

It’s out there now. It’s a thing. Starts as a media thing but doesn’t take much more to become a fan thing. Talking about the narrative that Buffalo’s championship window my be closing. A 4-3 record with two losses in past three games has done this. Now Josh Allen’s team will sink further into that narrative or repel it (for now) with a declarative home win Thursday to open NFL Week 8. This game is no gimmie pick. Allen obviously is battling shoulder issues that have caused him to run less lately, Bills’ defense is injury wracked, and Tampa’s D is good enough to keep Bucs in most game. Buffs wont even have a weather edge with temps in mid-60s. Even in a 1-2 slide, though, Bills’ offense has more pop than Tampa’s, and you’re pretty safe betting Allen will outplay Baker Mayfield (who is fighting his own knee issue) in a duel of 2018 top-10 picks. A turnover or two from Allen would give TB a shot, but Bills are 15-3 in past 18 home games as favorite and will ride that run.

[Note: Betting line courtesy Caesars Sportsbook as of midday Wednesday. Picks for remainder of Week 8 games will appear online Thursday afternoon and in print Friday] .