- Third-year wideout Chris Godwin leads NFL in yards (662) and touchdowns (6)
- Buccaneers deep threat has averaged 149.3 yards over the last three weeks
- Saints receiver Michael Thomas is second-favorite to lead league in receiving yards and has played most of the season without Drew Brees
Chris Godwin is due for a rest. Heading into the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Week 7 bye, the third-year pro has had games of 172, 125 and 151 receiving yards over the past three weeks, carrying him to the top of the NFL leaderboard.
Last week’s 151-yard outing in Tampa Bay’s loss to the Carolina Panthers in London allowed him to surge past both Los Angeles Rams star Cooper Kupp and New Orleans Saints wideout Michael Thomas. Now his odds of finishing the season on top have been slashed compared to a week ago, improving from +700 to +400.
Odds to Lead NFL in Receiving Yards
|Receiver||Receiving yards||Odds at Bovada*|
|Chris Godwin, Buccaneers||662 (1st)||+400|
|Michael Thomas, Saints||632 (2nd)||+450|
|Cooper Kupp, Rams||522 (6th)||+800|
|Keenan Allen, Chargers||503 (8th)||+900|
|DJ Chark, Jaguars||528 (5th)||+900|
|Amari Cooper, Cowboys||515 (7th)||+1000|
|Julio Jones, Falcons||467 (10th)||+1400|
|Mike Evans, Buccaneers||464 (11th)||+2000|
|Travis Kelce, Chiefs||541 (4th)||+2000|
|Odell Beckham Jr, Browns||436 (16th)||+2800|
|Tyler Lockett, Seahawks||454 (12th)||+2800|
*Odds taken on 10/18/19.
For anyone backing Godwin to finish the season as the NFL’s receiving-yards leader, the remainder of the Buccaneers’ schedule has to make for pleasant reading.
Chris Godwin has 662 rec yards thru six games at age 23.
That's happened just three other times in the post-merger era.
Deandre Hopkins, 2015
Andre Rison, 1990
Jerry Rice, 1986
— Zach Wilkens (@LopsidedTrades) October 14, 2019
While the Bucs return from their bye week to face the Titans, who are ranked sixth in passing defense with 217.3 yards per game, of their other nine remaining games, only three are against defenses ranked inside the top 20 (Saints, Jaguars, Colts).
The rest are giving up at least 250 receiving yards per game, and Godwin will look to feast upon the likes of Seattle (23rd), Houston (24th), Detroit (28th), Arizona (30th), while he gets two shots against Atlanta’s 27th-ranked unit.
Problems Under Center
In the form of Godwin and Mike Evans, Tampa Bay boasts the top receiving tandem in terms of yards this season, with 1,126 yards between them.
#GoBucs WR Chris Godwin through 6 weeks:
•1st In receiving yards (662)
•1st in Rec TDs (6)
•2nd In YAC (241)
•1st in “BIG” plays/plays of 20+ yards (13)
• 1st in YPG (110.3)
— Ashlie (@EMT_Ashlie) October 16, 2019
Quarterback Jameis Winston has been the biggest beneficiary of the duo’s dynamism, with his 1,771 passing yards good for sixth in the league. However, his 10 interceptions so far is tied for the second-highest total in the NFL, behind only Baker Mayfield’s 11. Of course, half of those came in last Sunday’s five-interception outing versus Carolina.
Winston’s career-high for interceptions in a season is 18 – set in 2016 – so the former Florida State standout is well on his way to exceeding that through six games. However, if the five-interception game was just a one-off, and not a sign of his play dropping off a cliff, he should still be effective enough to ensure Godwin stays amongst the league leaders.
While the New Orleans Saints’ top receiver may be trailing Godwin in the odds (+450 to Godwin’s +400) and in receiving yards (632 to 662), Thomas may well have one big advantage over his rival.
— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) October 8, 2019
Sometime between Weeks 8 and 10, Thomas will have the NFL’s career leader in passing yards, Drew Brees, throwing to him again. The fact that Thomas has put up the kind of number he has so far this season with, mostly, backup Teddy Bridgewater under center, including Week 5’s mammoth 182-yard, two-touchdown outing against Tampa Bay, makes you wonder what he might be able to do when Drew Brees is back under center.
Strength of Schedule
However, even with another matchup against Tampa Bay’s 32nd-ranked passing defense, the Saints’ remaining schedule is tougher than the Bucs’ when it comes to the caliber of passing defense that Thomas will face down the stretch.
While there are soft spots such as Tampa, Arizona (30th), and two shots against Atlanta (27th), the rest are against top-10 pass defenses, apart from outside of the Colts (17th), whose defense will be a top-tier unit once it gets the likes of Malik Hooker and Darius Leonard back.
— Inside Edge NFL (@IE_NFL) October 13, 2019
To overtake Godwin, Thomas will have to excel in games against San Francisco (1st), Tennessee (6th), and Chicago (11th), and two against Carolina (9th).
Who is the Best Bet?
With more than 100 yards on third-placed receiver Cooper Kupp, it’s starting to look like a two-horse race between Godwin and Thomas.
Chris Godwin has four 100-yard receiving games THIS season.
Prior to 2019, Godwin had four such games in his entire career. pic.twitter.com/0ovciVNzcS
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) October 13, 2019
With four 100-yard games compared to Thomas’s two, which have come in four of the last five weeks, Godwin appears to be shifting into high gear, so in some respects, Tampa’s bye week comes at the worst time.
However, with an easier strength of schedule and an able running mate in Evans to keep defensive resources split, Godwin appears to have the inside track in this race.
Pick: Godwin (+400)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.