Wake up Buccaneers fans! This is not a drill! The Bucs are in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Last week was not the best game the team has played this season. The Buccaneers failed to score a touchdown in the first half of the game for the first time this year and still found a way to win the game. The defense gave up 100 yards on the ground for the first time this season, but had a few timely turnovers to help win the game. After last week’s ugly win against the New York Giants, the team will return home to face the Division rival New Orleans Saints.
Breaking Down the Saints.
The New Orleans Saints will come into Raymond James Stadium on Sunday trying to beat the Bucs for the second time this season. If the Saints can win this game, it would put them a half a game ahead in first place in the NFC South. The first meeting this year was the first week of the season and the Saints won a game that may have been the most anticipated game of the off-season. New Orleans was led by Drew Brees and Alvin Kamara on the offensive side of the ball.
Brees completed 18 of his 30 pass attempts and threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns. Kamara gained only 16 yards rushing, but did have a rushing and a receiving touchdown. The Saints All-Pro wide receiver Michael Thomas was held to 17 yards receiving after leaving the game early with an injury.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Saints played well and forced Tom Brady to throw two interceptions. Janoris Jenkins may have had the play of the game for the Saints with his pick six in the third quarter, which was really a turning point. The defense had three sacks and a forced fumble and made it hard for Brady to get comfortable the entire game. Since the week one matchup, the defense has continued to play well and hopes to do the same on Sunday.
How the Game Will Play Out
Since their week one matchup, the Buccaneers have really come together on offense. Tom Brady has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league. The Bucs defense has been the top rush defense in the league and will look to hold the Saints’ rushers in check. New Orleans will look to spread the Tampa Bay defense out and make plays down the field. The Saints will get Michael Thomas back this week and there’s no doubt Drew Brees will look to get him involved early.
Thomas has not played in a game since week one and the Saints offense has not been the same. Alvin Kamara has been the MVP on that side of the ball. Kamara leads the team in rushing with 431 yards, and in receiving with 556 yards. The key defensively for the Bucs will be Devin White and Lavonte David. Both must know where Kamara is at all times and attempt to stop him from getting the Saints offense going.
The key to this game is going to be which defense can get to the quarterback and make him make a mistake. Both teams have the capability to score at will, and one mistake could be the difference. This season the Saints offensive line has been slightly better than the Bucs only allowing nine sacks to the Buccaneers’ 10. The Bucs defensive line has been better than the Saints and have racked up 28 sacks to the Saints’ 19. Tampa Bay’s front seven will be the difference in the game
The Buccaneers’ defense creates pressure on Drew Brees all day and creates four sacks and two interceptions. New Orleans defense gets to Tom Brady and forces a fumble, but it will not be enough to stop the Bucs offense. The Bucs win a back and forth game and take a two-game lead in the division.
Final Score Prediction: Buccaneers 35, Saints 24