“When The (Last Time?)”

NFC Game Of The Week

New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Saints: The record may look good, but the play hasn’t necessarily matched where they are in the standings. They’re 5-2, but this has been a different team as of late. Let’s admit it, they aren’t the Saints we are accustomed to seeing. I’m talking about the team that could spread the defense out and just throws it all over the field. It also doesn’t help when you’re missing some key pieces of the offense. Michael hasn’t played since week one and Emmanuel Sanders has been sidelined as well. The Saints have relied upon a small ball approach that consists of running the football, screens to Alvin Kamara, and the intermediate passing game. This year, they’ve also been one of the best at stopping the run. It’s the secondary that’s been the issue struggling with basic fundamentals. They’ll keep moving on Sunday night in a huge divisional showdown in Florida.

Bucs: I really didn’t care for how they looked on Monday night against the Giants. I’m thinking they underestimated their opponent. Look, it doesn’t matter if a team is winless, has one win, or eight wins, you must show up and play at the end of the day. The fact is, the Buccaneers looked ahead too soon. Although they struggled in the first half, they were able to regroup in the second half. It’s almost as if they were a different team. The offensive line protected Tom better. The offense continues to click and mesh more as the weeks go on. The Tampa defense is really taking after Todd Bowles because they come at offenses in a variety of ways. Back to the offense, we will probably see Antonio Brown make his debut this week. It’s another primetime game for them. Now, it’s Sunday night at home.

Saints X-Factor: Taysom Hill– He’s the “swiss army knife” for this offense. He can take snaps at quarterback, of course, he takes handoffs, runs the ball, lines up as a receiver. Sean knows where to put him at the right in a game. He can fool the Tampa defense.

Bucs X-Factor: Shaquil Barrett– He may not have the number as he did last year, but he’s still impactful nonetheless. Along with Devin White, he and Shaquil are one of the best defensive tandems in the league. Shaq can get shed blocks with perfect timing, As a pass rusher, he’s one of the best in the business.

Final Thoughts: It’s part two of Brees and Brady. I’m glad this is a primetime game. Both teams are different now compared to week one. The Saints have been without their best playmaker and the Bucs have been rolling on both sides of the ball. I look for Tampa to dare Drew to throw the ball deep down the field. Test him. Watch the Saints bring pressure to fluster Brady. These are two of the best at stopping the run.

Prediction: Bucs 30 Saints 27

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