It’s been a long, wild road since opening weekend. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s been promise unfulfilled, while for the New Orleans Saints, they again are positioned to compete for an NFL championship.
Can the Bucs keep New Orleans waiting another week to claim the NFC South Crown?
Tale of the Tape
|Total Offense||442.7 (1st)||396.6 (6th)|
|Points Scored||26.5 (10th)||34.9 (2nd)|
|Passing Off||344.5 (1st)||269.2 (11th)|
|Rushing Off||98.2 (26th)||127.4 (9th)|
|Total Defense||395.4 (27th)||354.7 (16th)|
|Opp Scoring||29.6 (30th)||22.4 (13th)|
|Opp Passing||274.4 (28th)||279.3 (30th)|
|Opp Rushing||121.- (21st)||75.3 (1st)|
|Turnover Ratio||-18 (31st)||+9 (5th)|
Buccaneers offense vs. Saints Defense
Since returning as the starting quarterback of the Buccaneers, Jameis Winston has been outstanding. In his past 3 games, Winston has
completed 61 of 84 (72.6 pct.) with 6 TDs vs. 1 INT for 119.1
rating. His past two games have been turnover-free and the Bucs have consistently been putting points on the board.
Better yet, Tampa Bay has been getting quick starts, which has helped their defense tremendously.
New Orleans has been fairly solid on defense, but they’re not the ’85 Bears. The Bucs put 48 points on the board the last time these two teams met, but I wouldn’t expect that same performance, especially if the expected weather conditions materialize.
Basically, what the Bucs need to do is what they’ve done the last couple weeks, get ahead early, protect the football and don’t give away anything easy.
Saints Offense vs. Buccaneers Defense
I think Bucs fans should root for the Saints in the playoffs, because maybe if Drew Brees gets one more Super Bowl championship, he’ll ride off into the sunset on top and Tampa Bay won’t have to see him carve up their defense ever again.
We all know Brees is one of the greatest ever to play the game, but give him an unbelievable one/two punch in Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the backfield and Michael Thomas catching balls, it’s a tough assignment for any defense.
The Buccaneers have been a lot better at home than on the road, defensively. In fact, it’s almost a night and day difference. While you’d like to think the home crowd has had an impact – have you seen the stands lately?
Who knows what it is, but the Bucs have done well at home. In fact, the only time the defense has given up over 23 points at Ray Jay this season was on Monday Night Football and that was aided by a pick-six.
Poor weather could make it a challenge for either team to light up the scoreboard, and that helps Tampa Bay.
Hallelujah. It looks like the Buccaneers finally have found themselves a kicker in Cairo Santos. Santos is perfect on his 14 kicks for the Bucs thus far. If he keeps it up, there may be a parade on Dale Mabry.
Bucs Punter Bryan Anger has had a subpar year, while Tampa Bay has no returners that will scare anybody.
Will Lutz has been practically automatic for New Orleans this season and Thomas Morstead continues to be one of the best punters in the league. Taysom Hill can surprise you on a return but for the most part, none of their returners have done much in 2018.
- The Bucs have won two straight and three of the last four games in the series.
- Tampa Bay has also beaten the Saint two straight at Raymond James Stadium.
- The Bucs and Saints have split the season series each year since 2015.
- Jameis Winston usually struggles against the Saints, completing just 59.5% of his passes, for 1280 yds, 5 touchdowns
and5 interceptions and a 79.3 QB Rating. His record as a starting against New Orleans is 3-3.
- In his storied NFL career, the Bucs have notched the second most wins against Drew Brees with 10 and can tie Carolina for the most wins against Brees at 11. Overall, Brees is 16-10 vs. Tampa Bay with 51 TD passes and a QB Rating of 97.6
- The Saints win the NFC South with a victory over the Bucs or a Carolina loss.
I’ve honestly gone back-and-forth with this one. The Bucs are playing some of their best football of the season and have been very tough at home. It will be a bad weather game, which doesn’t bode well for a dome team. In other words, the Bucs really have a chance to sweep one of the best teams in the NFL, something unthinkable a few weeks ago.
I just can’t do it
Prediction: Saints 20, Buccaneers 17