I wonder how many times we have heard, or read “It’s tough to beat a team three times in a season” over the last few days? Probably enough to pull your hair out I’m guessing. As aggravating as this phrase is, there is some truth in it. Odds wise I believe it probably doesn’t happen a bunch, although it’s not uncommon. There is another factoid that adds strength to it as well. Tom Brady has never lost to a team three times in a season during his illustrious career. That means neither has Gronk. The fact it’s been so long since we last made the playoffs, the players that were drafted here haven’t lost three times to the same team either. One of the things that have to happen is the same for each team. You have to rattle the other team’s quarterback. You have to get some penetration and pop Brees as often as possible. Force him into throws he doesn’t want to make. It was really the same formula that was used to body slam the Packers in the early going of this season. It all starts upfront, and missing Vea is no excuse for not making some things happen. Whichever team can get into the other’s backfield the most and disrupt and harass should take this one. Brady and Brees are both good at getting the ball out quick, so it’s going to be a challenge for both sides. It doesn’t hurt that our offense has seemingly found its groove since the bye week. Our skill position players have settled into their roles, and we are better on that side of the ball than we were the last time we faced the Saints.
I also believe that the Saints are going to be overconfident, and will take us somewhat lightly. How could they not, really. They have had their way with us, and they have disrespected us. That fact also gives us a boost in “Want to”. Every player on this team remembers the juvenile dance party that the Saints put on after blowing us out the last time. This is our chance to shove it down their throat, and I would like to think that’s going to give us a boost as well. I have no misgivings about how tough it’s going to be to get this win. If we do pull it out, it will do wonders for our confidence moving forward; and would be just what this team needs in a season that has seen losses to playoff-caliber teams throughout the schedule. When playing almost any sport, the mental edge cannot be discounted. It’s often the difference in matchups when both teams are loaded with talent. This is certainly the case here.
To go along with that mental advantage, they need to give the Saints a heavy dose of Jones and Fournette and not abandon those efforts, even if some of those touches are of the passing sort. Getting the ball in the hands of the running backs, I believe, will make a big difference if we can produce any kind of success on that front. So, if they don’t shy from the run, and Brady is Brady, and we can get pressure on Brees, the Bucs will leave New Orleans as winners. We have a chip on our shoulder going into this one, and I believe that gives us the advantage and the win. Bucs in a shootout, 38-34. Go Bucs!!