Part of the fun of following a football team is seeing what your upcoming opponent’s fans think of the game. It’s fair to say that we develop a certain blind spot to our own teams, and things look clearer from the outside.
Week 5 sees the Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to New Orleans to take on the NFC South leaders and division rivals. The Saints go into this game in first place with a 3-1 record, and their fans are rightly optimistic about cementing their position atop the NFC South. This is where I have enjoyed seeing the NOLA fans’ own blind spot!
Many Saints fans are expecting to see a one-sided routing of the 2-2 Bucs; after all the Buccaneers have had two back to back losing seasons so they must be bad, right?
A recent article on “Fansided/ BigEasyBelilever.com” appeared and dismissed Jameis Winston as “a worse version of Dak Prescott”. This article continued to wax lyrically about how dominant the Saints were against the Cowboys (despite not scoring a TD) and went on to predict a huge blowout victory for Who Dat Nation.
What they completely forgot to mention is that the Saints have been heavily reliant on their running game and no mention was made of the Saints only scoring TWO passing TDs in twelve quarters of football. They forgot to mention that Dak just happened to play one of the worst games he’s ever played and that it had nothing to do with the Saints defense. Prescott didn’t see a whole lot of pressure and was only sacked once. He just missed wide-open receivers.
Many New Orleans Fans are discounting the way the Bucs beat the Rams, a team that bullied the Saints just two weeks ago, as a fluke! A one-off!
What that article fails to consider is that this isn’t the Buccaneers team of years gone by. This team is a whole new animal!
Bruce Arians has built a team with an offense that will take advantage of the Saints’ weak secondary. and a defense that will spend most of the game pitching tents in the Saints backfield. Priority will be placed on stopping, the run and short passing game, and taking Alvin Kamara off the table. The pass rush will constantly harass Teddy Bridgewater. The only concern is the Bucs secondary, and I don’t believe that Bridgewater is the QB to exploit that possible weakness.
Whilst I’m not going to fall into the trap of saying this game will be a routing of the Bucs, I will say nothing hurts more than a hit you didn’t see coming. This game isn’t a foregone conclusion at all; however, the matchup suggests that the Bucs flip the script and leave Louisiana as the NFC South leaders.