Sunday afternoon on the NFL gridiron and a pair of teams from the NFC South will square off as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers grapple with the New Orleans Saints. This contest will take place at Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints won at home last year by a score of 30-10. Tampa Bay was 2-2 in the preseason, while the Saints went 3-1.
Tampa Bay Needs To Correct The Mistakes
Tampa Bay had a rough 5-11 season a year ago and they will look to turn things around this year. Their offense was very solid, but turnovers really did them in. Jameis Winston threw for 3504 yards and 19 TDs, but he also had 11 INTs and seven lost fumbles. He has now thrown 69 TDs in his career and 44 INTs. He has to cut down on the mistakes or this offense will continue to underachieve. The Bucs will not have him for this game as he has been suspended for the first three games this year. Ryan Fitzpatrick was brought in and will take the reigns of the offense, but he has not really had a great career. This offense could struggle in the early, especially since they will not have Winston at QB and they no longer have Doug Martin at running back. They did draft RB Ronald Jones with their 2nd pick and he has the tools to be a star in this league.
This will be a solid offense this year, especially when Winston comes back from suspension, but they must cut down on the turnovers. The defense was not good at all last year, but part of it was due to the offense putting it in bad positions. If the offense gets its act together then this defense will be improved. They used three of their first four picks in the draft on this side of the ball, including taking DL Vita Vea with the 12th overall pick. They also brought in DE Jason Pierre-Paul from the Giants to help the pass rush. This will be an improved defense, but it may not be enough to get them out of the basement in the NFC South.
The Buccaneers were a solid offensive team a year ago as they ranked 9th in the league in total offense, 4th in passing, 27th in rushing, and 18th in scoring at 20.9 ppg. On defense, they were very poor as they ranked 32nd in total yards allowed, 32nd against the pass and 23rd vs the run, while allowing 23.9 ppg, which was 24th in the league.
The Saints Have Unfinished Business
The New Orleans Saints went 11-5 last year, which was good enough to win the NFC South. They have hopes of an even better year this time around. Their season ended very rough as they lost to the Vikings in the playoffs on a miracle last-second score by the Vikes. The Saints had one of the best offenses in the league and will so again. Drew Brees is back and should have another strong season, despite the fact that he is 39 years old. Michael Thomas is back after catching 104 balls for 1245 yards and five TDs a year ago. They do lose Willie Snead, but Brees still has plenty of weapons to throw two.
The running game got a big surprise last year with Alvin Kamara, who ran for 728 yards and eight TDs, while also having 803 receiving yards and five TDs a year ago. Mark Ingram had a strong season with 1124 yards rushing and 12 TDs, plus he had 412 yards receiving. The offense will again be top 5 with Brees and Kamara leading the way. The defense was solid last year and could have another good showing this year, especially with the addition of DL Marcus Davenport, who they grabbed with the 14th overall pick. The Falcons and Panthers are both improved, which really makes it a three-team race in the NFC South.
New Orleans was a very good offensive team as they ranked 2nd in the league in total offense, 5th in passing, 5th in rushing, and 4th in scoring at 28.0 ppg. On defense, they were below average as they ranked 17th in total yards allowed, 15th against the pass and 16th vs the run, while allowing 20.4 ppg, which was 10th in the league.
New Orleans is:
- 13-5 ATS in their last 18 vs. the NFC South
- 5-2 ATS their last seven home games in this series
- The Under is 14-5 the last 19 games in this series
Tampa Bay is:
- 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games in September
- 3-8 ATS in their last 11 vs. the NFC
- The Under is 5-2 in their last 7 vs. the NFC South
- The Under is 15-6 in their last 21 games in Week on