“Brand New”

NFC Game Of The Week 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints 

Bucs: It’s been a rough few years for them. The Buccaneers own the second longest playoff drought in the NFL behind the Cleveland Browns. However, the off-season was one to remember though. They entered their names in the GOAT sweepstakes and won it. After years of inconsistent quarterback play, they signed Tom Brady. Coming in, he already has much better weapons in Tampa than he did in his final season with the New England Patriots. Talk about an upgrade. This is the best set of weapons the legendary quarterback has had since 2007. Tom will have the luxury of two 1,000-yard receivers (Mike Evans and Chris Godwin). Rob Gronkowski was also acquired by Tampa! Last week, they signed Leonard Fournette. Everything looks nice on paper. If things work out, this is the biggest threat to the Saints in the division. A new chapter begins on Sunday in New Orleans.

Saints: These last three seasons have ended in memorable ways, not in a good way either. They’ve won the division each year since 2017. Each time, they were considered a threat to get to the Super Bowl. How could they not be? Especially with Drew Brees. After their loss to the Vikings in the playoffs, I said the Saints needed one thing. Another receiver to take the pressure off Michael Thomas. If you bottle up Alvin Kamara and Mike, you shut the Saints down. In March, they signed Emmanuel Sanders to a deal. I loved the moved because he’s a veteran with championship experience and knows his role within an offense. What concerns me about the Saints defense is their secondary. They rely on athletic skill and not much on technique. Malcolm Jenkins is back with the team which can help. On Sunday, the Saints welcome a legend to town.

Bucs X-Factor: Jason Pierre Paul– Here’s the facts about being a pass rusher. You don’t necessarily have to come away with a sack of the quarterback. Applying pressure is all that’s needed. That’s exactly what JPP does for this Tampa defense. He’s a guy you must circle in on because if you don’t chip him, he’ll wreck your quarterback’s day or evening. They’ll need everything from him in this one.

Saints X-Factor: Latavius Murray– I really do like Alvin Kamara. But he’s not an every down back. This is where Latavius comes into the picture. When you need a guy to get you those hard-fought yards up the middle in between the tackles, he’s the one. This is a downhill running back with tremendous vision to burst up the field. You need that run on third and short, this is the guy. This is no disrespect to Alvin.

Final Thoughts: When Tom decided to sign with Tampa Bay, football fans immediately knew what this meant. Two meetings between legendary quarterbacks. What a way to begin the season! I see the Saints bringing pressure up the middle on Brady and spreading the ball around offensively. The gameplan when facing Brees is to hit him along with making him throw the ball sooner or move him out the pocket. This will come down to who can apply pressure to the opposition’s quarterback the best.

Prediction: Saints 31 Bucs 21

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