Can Tampa Bay Sweep New Orleans in 2018?


Oh, when the Saints go marching in,

When the Saints go marching in,

Oh, how I want to be there at Ray Jay,

When the Bucs beat those Saints once again.


With all due respect to this great song and its historical significance, I like my version much better.  The Buccaneers have been in the NFC South for sixteen years now, and the Saints hold the all-time record at 32-21-0.  The Saints won six in a row back in the 80’s, and, more recently, seven in a row from 2011-2014.  The rest of the time it has been a flip-flop affair, sometimes for the Bucs more flop than flip.  All of this makes the current two in a row streak we have more of a reason to make it three in a row. Even though New Orleans has punched its ticket to the 2018 post-season already, it would be nice to send those swamp crawlers back to the bayou with their third loss of the year.

Now, how do we do it?  Well, Drew Brees is going to find open receivers.  You don’t make reservations for the Hall of Fame without being able to fling the biscuit.  This is where the “Pieces of Hate,” our defensive line, comes into play.  Put Brees on his butt, make him hear footsteps, shadow him like an umbrella, and he will still find receivers, but limit his chances to find the big one.  Also, tackling.  Something our defense has been doing 100% better in the last three weeks.  Go back to week one, and there were guys trying to tackle Alvin Kamara like he had grease on his uniform.  An opportunistic secondary as of late could help the Buccaneers remain on the positive side of the takeaway/giveaway category, and that is huge.  As much as JPP wants to get to the ball, the defense will need to contain their lanes.  Drew Brees and Sean Peyton have literally made a career out of misdirection.  Play disciplined, smash mouth football, and our defense can slow down the Saints just enough…

…Just enough that Jameis Winston, who, by the way, is finally putting his franchise quarterback suit on here in 2018, can continue to play mistake-free football, hitting open receivers and leading the offense on long, time-consuming drives.  Know what would really surprise the Saints’ defense?  An offensive line that comes out and smashes them in the mouth on every play, opening large holes for Peyton Barber to tote the rock up and down the field.  The Saints saw us expose their weak secondary for what it was in week one, but to win this week, we will need a clock controlled, methodical offense that will frustrate Brees all to heck by keeping him on the sideline working on his tan.

All right.  I’ve asked for a lot, I know!  The Saints are 10-2, coming off a 13-10 loss to Dallas last week.  But I know there is a voodoo formula that if three teams tie, four teams lose, and a UFO lands outside Raymond James stadium, then the Buccaneers can make the playoffs.  But for any of that to matter, we must first establish our place in the NFC South, and that starts with beating the Saints for the third time in a row Sunday.