Last week the Tampa Bay Buccaneers WON A GAME!!! This week the Buccaneers take on a division rival, the New Orleans Saints. Coming off a tuff loss the Saints will look to exact revenge on the Buccaneers. In what will surely be a knockdown fight Tampa will try to put together a winning streak. So who do I think will come out on top?
Missing in Action
Noted in the injury report is cornerback Marshon Lattimore. This could be the single largest missing piece for the Saints in this game. It opens up Mike Evans or Chris Godwin to the possibility of a big day. Maybe even both. Eli Apple would be the next defender up who may shadow Evans. This will make for a great mismatch that Jameis Winston can take advantage of.
Ronald Jones looks potent in the screen pass attack. Frankly, I have been asking why the team was not using more of them from the beginning of the season. The team may have one or two more wins if they had implemented it earlier. We will see some more of it today, but I anticipate Jones will also see some more action in a different manner. In particular, I would like to see some two running back sets where Jones motions out to the slot. If he can get some short-yardage crossing or drag routes he could use his explosiveness to expand the playbook and get some god yardage plays. We will see how he gets utilized today.
Good-Bye and Next Man Up
Vernon Hargreaves is gone, finally. Subsequently, the next man up philosophy now applies. With limited depth at the corner position the young players, this team has drafted need to now step up and show they can play. No matter who it is they will have their hands full with Michael Thomas. Will Sean Murphy-Bunting show up today as a lockdown corner? He will need to in order to stop Thomas. Additionally, the other may have to be Jamel Dean. Carlton Davis is questionable and M. J. Stewart is out. This should have Drew Brees chomping at the bit to get out there.
Getting to Brees
The Buccaneer’s defensive line will need to get in the backfield. Shaquil Barrett will be moved around often and with luck will find his way to Brees. As we have seen before, Brees thrives in the pocket. The best chance to interrupt his prolific passing game is to get in his space and make him move. Andrus Peat is out so this should aide in the ability for the defense to penetrate the interior of the line. Vita Vea Should have a huge impact today.
This game will be tough. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to win another game at home. But the odds are not in their favor. ESPN has the chances of the Buccaneers winning at 42.6%. I predict the Tampa Bay Buccaneers almost pull off the upset. Saints 28-24.