Coming off their most complete game of the season, the Bucs have a tough task ahead of them. Luckily, they will play at home, where they are 2-1 this season. New Orleans, on the other hand, has yet to win on the road. A small sample size, yes, but the Bucs need any advantage they can get. New Orleans is 1-4 on the season, though they are coming off their first win of the season. It took them until the very end in a home game against the Chargers, but they squeaked out the victory in the end. That could give them some confidence going forward in what looked like a lost season. Bucs fans hope otherwise.
The Saints are much the same team they have been for several years. A dynamic offense focused on a strong passing attack and a defense that gives up a lot of points and yards. That formula has worked for a while, but not this year. With some injuries and off field distractions, as well as the absence of head coach Sean Payton, the Saints winning formula has taken a turn for the worse. For it to work, Drew Brees basically has to be close to perfect. That hasn’t been the case this year. While still playing at a very high level, he has a much lower completion percentage than his career average. He also has turned the ball more often than he typically does.
The defensive side of the ball has been the real reason they have lost a ton of games. They haven’t been able to stop anyone. Previous years they haven’t been great, but they have found ways to come ahead in the end. Turnovers have been a big part of that, which they aren’t getting many this year. Everyone has been able to score on the Saints this year. This was a good time for Tampa to get their offense going. They were able to put 38 on the Chiefs, so they certainly have the firepower to put up some big points.
This one will likely come down to how well Drew Brees plays. The Bucs have the second worse passing defense in the league. The Saints have the top passing offense in the league. That number is slightly inflated because they have been playing behind so often, but nobody will doubt that the Saints have a great passing offense. Tampa has done well against the run, but New Orleans rarely runs the ball. I expect Brees to throw around 40 times this game, unless they get out to a big lead. With the name recognition, I expect New Orleans to be favored in this one, but it will be the Buccaneers looking to improve to .500 on the year on Sunday.