HERE WE GO! Week Two is upon us, and this week, we’re previewing the NFC South showdown between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints.
The Saints have had the Bucs number in the last six regular season games, with the Bucs winning their only matchup in the playoffs (2020) in that time frame.
Bucs’ offense needs to come out strong!
The Bucs have been stagnant in their matchups against the Saints. The last time they played, they ended up being shut out at home, losing 9-0. The Bucs are going to need to establish the ground game with Leonard Fournette, who rushed for 127 yards in last week’s victory over the Cowboys. The Saints rush D surrendered 201 yards on the ground to Atlanta last week after being the league’s fourth-best against the run a season ago.
The Bucs will also need big games from veterans Julio Jones and Russell Gage, who both are familiar with the Saints during their time with Atlanta. Brady will need to stay upright as his blindside could be in jeopardy as tackle Donovan Smith is unlikely to play after sustaining an elbow injury last week against the Cowboys. Saints linebacker DeMario Davis will look to exploit Tampa’s blindside regardless of Smith’s status, so we’re going to need another good crack block from Lenny this week. On the right side, Saints Cam Jordan may be ruled out of Sunday’s game but expect Tristan Wirfs to still have his hands full.
Devin White and the Bucs D must play Smart Football!
If the Bucs are hoping to win Sunday, it’ll take them playing technically sound football on the defensive side, starting with Devin White. After leading the team in tackles (8) and sacks (2), he’ll have his hands full not only communicating with his teammates but containing RB Alvin Kamara. Although Kamara hasn’t been himself on the field, he could easily turn into a nightmare. Kamara has 957 all-purpose yards (464 rushing/493 receiving) and 10 touchdowns (7 rushing/3 receiving) in 10 regular season games against the Bucs.
The Bucs front seven (4 sacks vs Dallas in Week 1) could have a field day against the Saints offense if they block the way they did against Atlanta in Week 1, allowing quarterback Jameis Winston to be sacked 4 times and a fumble loss. 1.5 of those sacks came from the interior, which means Akeem Hicks and Vita Vea (1 sack vs Dallas) could feast or require double-teams, allowing Will Gholston, JTS, and Shaq Barrett to reign free on the former number-one draft pick.
Finally, the matchup that Bucs fans are eagerly awaiting is Carlton Davis III and Sean Murphy-Bunting locking down slant-boy Michael Thomas for another game. On the other side, Jamel Dean will look to lock down Jarvis Landry, while safeties Logan Ryan, Antoine Winfield Jr (interception vs Dallas in Week 1), and Mike Edwards rotate in hope of keeping all deep passes in front of them. The secondary is well aware that if Winston is pressured, he tends to make those arrogant passes that have a high tendency to end up in the defense’s favor.
Julio Jones 18 game career vs. New Orleans: 158 receptions, 1615 yards, 3 touchdowns (7-100 yard games vs. Saints)
Russell Gage 8 game career vs. New Orleans: 36 receptions, 374 yards, 3 touchdowns (Last game vs. Saints*: 9 receptions, 126 yards, 1 touchdown) *as a member of the Atlanta Falcons
Betting via Caesars Sportbook: Bucs -2.5, Over/Under: 44.0
• Quarterback Tom Brady passed for 212 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. He has 5,557 passing yards (308.7 per game) and 44 TDs (40 passing, 4 rushing) vs. 11 interceptions for a 104.2 rating in 18 road starts with Tampa Bay. He passed for 375 yards and 4 touchdowns vs. 2 interceptions for a 112 rating in the last road meeting. Brady has 300 or more passing yards, 2 or more touchdown passes, and a 100 or better rating in 4 of his past 5 road starts vs. the division.
• Runningback Leonard Fournette had 137 scrimmage yards (127 rush, 10 receiving) in Week 1, his 15th-career game with 125 or more scrimmage yards. He has 795 scrimmage yards (99.4 per game) and 7 touchdowns (5 rushing, 2 receiving) in his past 8 games on the road.
• Wide receiver Mike Evans led the team with 5 catches for 71 yards and a receiving touchdown in Week 1. He will look for his 3rd in a row at New Orleans and 3rd in a row on the road overall with a touchdown catch this Sunday. Since 2014, Evans leads NFL with 76 receiving touchdowns.
• Wide Receiver Julio Jones had 86 scrimmage yards (69 receiving, 17 rushing) last week in his Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ debut. He has 102 receptions for 1,615 yards (89.7 per game) and 3 receiving touchdowns in 18 career games vs. New Orleans. He has 59 career games with 100 or more receiving yards, which is tied for 3rd most in NFL history.
• Linebacker Lavotne David had 6 tackles, a tackle for a loss, and a pass defended in Week 1. He had 11 tackles, 3 tackles for a loss, a sack, and a forced fumble in the last meeting with the Saints and has 18 tackles for a loss in 20 career games vs. The Saints. he is 1 of 2 (J.J. Watt) with 50 or more passes defended (54) and 25 or more forced fumbles (26) since 2012.
• Linebacker Devin White led the team with 8 tackles and had 2 sacks and a pass defended last week, which is his 5th-career game with 2 or more sacks. Has 10 or more tackles in 4 of his 5 career games vs. New Orleans.
• Defensive lineman Vita Vea had his 13th career sack last week. He has 4 sacks in his past 4 games on the road.
• Safety Antoine Winfield Jr. had 6 tackles and his 4th-career interception last week. He will look for his 6th game in a row on the road with 6 or more tackles.
• Cornerback Carlton Davis has 11 passes defended in his past 11 games on the road.
Some highlights from last season’s game in New Orleans
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