Tampa Bay (2-2 1-0 Div) against the New Orleans Saints (3-1 0-0 Div) in a Week 5 NFC South showdown in the Big Easy (New Orleans). This is going to be a huge battle between these NFC South opponents, which will likely help give some early season clarity for the NFC South standings.
This will be the first divisional game for New Orleans this season while this is the 2nd of 3 division games, in a 6 week period for the Bucs.
How they match up
Tampa Bay’s 2 wins this season have come on the road (Carolina in week 2 and L.A. last week), which has landed them with the title of road warriors while the Saints have yet to lose at home this season.
The Saints are coming into week 5, only averaging 21 points per game and allowing 23 points per game. They’re currently ranked 20th in the league in total points with 84 and 26th in the league in yards per game with 321.3. Good enough that Bridgwater is 2-0 since taking over for an injured Brees.
Tampa Bay this season has been a bit more 50-50 with their stats. They’re coming into the game with the 5th most points in the NFL with 123 and 11th in the league in yards per game with 386.8. Yes, Tampa may have the Shaq Barrett effect on defense with an astounding 9 of the teams 11 sacks through 4 games, but they’re giving up 29.3 points per game.
The good news is that Tampa has the 2nd ranked rush defense in the NFL allowing only 59.3 yards per game to 3 elite level backs (McCaffrey in week 2, Barkley week 3, and Gurley last week). They’ll have another elite back to stop in Alvin Kamara.
Tampa will hold Kamara to under 100 all-purpose yards, and make Bridgewater work for his money. I believe with Ryan Smith returning and Jamal Dean healthy and active, the struggling backside of the defense has a productive day. I’m predicting a 40-18 rout of the Saints along with the Bucs defense showing promise leading into the London game against Carolina the following week.