Buccaneers vs. Saints: Game Preview

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been in a position to get the job completed in opposition to the Washington Football Team final week and now they’re set to tackle a well-known foe within the New Orleans Saints.

This Divisional Spherical showdown will characterize the 2020 season’s third assembly between these two groups. The Bucs have been outscored 72-26 within the first two conferences, so I’m certain they’re searching for redemption this week.

Will they discover stated redemption within the type of a playoff win?

  • All-time sequence: The Saints lead, 37-21
  • Longest win streak: New Orleans gained seven video games in a row from 2011-2014.
  • Largest margin of victory: New Orleans beat Tampa Bay like a drum, 41-0, again in 2012.
  • 2020 offensive and defensive rankings: The Bucs completed 2020 with the seventh-best offense (2nd passing, twenty eighth speeding) and the sixth-best protection (twenty first passing, 1st speeding). The Saints ended up with the Twelfth-best offense (nineteenth passing, sixth speeding) and the fourth-best protection (fifth passing, 4th speeding).

NFL: JAN 09 NFC Wild Card - Buccaneers at Washington Football Team


Chris Godwin is seeking to have a bounce-back sport in opposition to the Saints.Picture by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photos

  • The document of groups assembly for a 3rd time within the playoffs: Scott Kacsmar of lately launched some numbers on the document of groups assembly for the third time in a single season and the outcomes could not please Tampa Bay followers. Per Kacsmar, groups going for the 3-game sweep are 14-7 within the playoffs. The excellent news? Groups searching for the sweep are 0-1 within the Divisional Spherical since 2007! Who feels a development approaching?!?! In all seriousness, the chances are definitely in opposition to the Bucs and will probably be fascinating to see in the event that they change into a part of the established order on Sunday evening.
  • No Alex Cappa, however Ali Marpet is again: This could possibly be a giant one. Cappa didn’t play his finest half of soccer in opposition to Washington, but the Bucs have been nonetheless in a position to put up 18 first half factors and have been in a position to transfer the ball fairly effectively in opposition to Washington protection. However for those who look a bit of deeper, you may see there could also be bother brewing. Tom Brady was hit simply as soon as within the first half regardless of Cappa’s struggles. Within the second half, nonetheless, he was hit six instances. Is that this an indication of issues to come back for the Bucs or is it simply because they needed to have Ted Larsen play guard in a pinch? The excellent news is that Ali Marpet is again after lacking the Week 9 matchup, which ought to actually assist the offensive line as an entire.
  • Antonio Brown’s impression: The Week 9 assembly was Brown’s first sport as a Buc and it went about the way you’d anticipate it to for those who had reasonable expectations. Granted, he was second on the staff in targets, which was a shock, however he didn’t do a lot with them. That may change this time round. Brown and the Bucs have discovered their groove. Not solely did he catch an enormous 36-yard landing in opposition to Washington, however he completed tied for the league lead in receiving touchdowns (4) and the ninth-most receiving yards (266) over the past three weeks of the common season. Don’t be shocked if Brown is the go-to man on Sunday and if he has a giant hand in how the ultimate rating performs out.
  • The return of Devin White: Make no mistake about it: White’s return is a serious key to this sport. He has definitely had his points in go protection and could be overzealous when studying keys/diagnosing performs, however there’s little question that his pace and athleticism are difference-makers. Plus, Bowles was discovering artistic methods to get White after the quarterback towards the top of the yr, which actually helped Tampa Bay’s total go rush. White had 4.0 mixed sacks in Weeks 15 & 16 earlier than lacking the 2020 common season finale and the Wild Card sport. The Bucs have simply 3.0 sacks as a staff within the two video games that White missed. It’s fairly clear that the Bucs will want him in a giant method on Sunday evening.
  • A go rush, please: And talking of go rush, can the Bucs lastly get after Drew Brees and Taysom Hill regularly on this sport? The Bucs have simply 3.0 mixed sacks within the final 4 video games in opposition to the Saints. There are many explanation why the Bucs can’t get after Brees —it begins with an ideal offensive line however there are different causes— and the shortage of a go rush is likely one of the massive explanation why the Saints have scored 31 factors or extra in all 4 conferences since Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles got here to city. Hopefully White’s return will make the distinction, however solely time will inform.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

  • QB Tom Brady: Can he break extra postseason data for the Bucs this week? Brady regarded like his regular postseason self in opposition to Washington and will proceed his scorching play in opposition to the Saints.
  • RB Leonard Fournette: Ronald Jones II continues to be nursing that quad, which suggests Fournette is again within the beginning position for the Bucs. He regarded nice in opposition to Washington, however he might want to play even higher on Sunday.
  • WR Antonio Brown: I actually wished to place Chris Godwin right here as a result of I feel he’ll be on a mission for redemption after final week’s uncharacteristically dangerous sport, however Brown is an excessive amount of of a mismatch for the Saints protection and can probably have extra of an impression this week.
  • DL Ndamukong Suh: The Bucs should get some sort of push from the defensive position this week if they need any shot at successful and that each one begins with Suh.
  • LB Devin White: As I discussed earlier, White brings a brand new dynamic to the Bucs’ go rush and his pace will likely be wanted in opposition to a Saints staff that likes to unfold the sphere horizontally.
  • CB Carlton Davis III: Michael Thomas will likely be again for the Saints, which suggests CDIII will probably be on him for almost all of the sport. Davis locked Thomas down in the course of the earlier two conferences. Can he do it a 3rd time?

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Will this be Drew Brees’ final sport as an NFL quarterback?Picture by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Photos

New Orleans Saints

  • QB Drew Brees: I’d be cash that that is Brees’ final season, so you already know he and his fellow mates are going to go all out as a way to make certain he will get a shot at yet another Super Bowl. He’s going to be locked in throughout this sport, so will probably be as much as the Bucs to ensure he doesn’t discover a groove.
  • RB Alvin Kamara: The Saints offense runs by way of Kamara, there’s simply no different technique to put it. Tampa Bay has discovered methods to curtail his manufacturing over the past two conferences and will probably be essential for that development to proceed this week.
  • WR Michael Thomas: He tied for the staff lead in targets in opposition to the Bears and had his finest statistical sport since Week 13 of the common season. A wholesome Thomas is rarely good for opposing defenses, so CDIII and co. have to be prepared for him.
  • DE Trey Hendrickson: Shocked you don’t see Cameron Jordan or Marcus Davenport right here? Properly, that’s as a result of each gamers have mixed for zero sacks in opposition to the Bucs in 2020 whereas Hendrickson has 3.0 mixed sacks and 4 mixed quarterback hits within the two common season conferences.
  • LB Demario Davis: Davis didn’t earn All-Professional honors this yr, however he’s nonetheless one of many league’s finest all-around linebackers and have to be accounted for on each play.
  • DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson: Nearly everybody is aware of who Gardner-Johnson is by now. He’s an ideal participant, however he the place he makes his greatest impression is within the trash-talking sport. The Bucs can’t let him get of their heads this week.
  • This 2021 Divisional Spherical showdown between the Buccaneers and Saints marks the primary time Tampa Bay has confronted a member of the NFC South within the postseason.
  • The Bucs set new a postseason document when it comes to complete internet yards and gained their first postseason sport for the reason that 2002 season. Loads of particular person data have been damaged, as effectively. Brady set the document for probably the most internet passing yards in a postseason sport, Mike Evans set a document for probably the most receiving yards in a postseason sport, and Ryan Succop set a brand new document for many made discipline objectives in a postseason sport.
  • Tampa Bay’s offensive line completed with league’s second-best allowed sack proportion and tied for the second-most video games with out permitting a sack.

NFL: JAN 09 NFC Wild Card - Buccaneers at Washington Football Team

Can the Bucs win their second straight street playoff sport and get to their third NFC Championship sport?Picture by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire by way of Getty Photos

I don’t know if I’ve simply drank method an excessive amount of of the Bucs’ Kool-Assist or what, however I feel Tampa Bay wins this sport.

That is completely different staff if you examine the place the Bucs are actually to the staff we noticed within the earlier two conferences. The offense has discovered its identification, its groove, and is at the moment enjoying as among the best items within the league. Brady is enjoying his finest soccer of the season and could have the Bucs on this sport till the very finish.

The protection is the place issues get a bit shaky, however we’ve seen what the unit can do when it’s firing on all cylinders. The Week 6 matchup in opposition to Inexperienced Bay is the very first thing that involves thoughts when occupied with the protection’s true potential and what it may possibly do when it’s targeted and executing at a excessive stage.

All of it begins with Bowles and also you’ve acquired to love the protection’s possibilities primarily based off what he stated on Thursday.

“We’re in the best way of thinking – we don’t have any doubts,” Bowles stated when requested concerning the protection’s mindset coming into this sport. “That’s one factor we don’t have – doubts. We’re going to go in with weapons blazing, we’re going to play laborious they usually’re going to play laborious, so it must be a heck of a soccer sport. We should always have the ability to deal with the ebbs and tides of the soccer sport. Not every part goes to go our method – we’ve seen that all through the season and the blokes have responded, in order that’s all we are able to go off of and that’s how we’re going to play it.”

The Bucs are prepared. The time has come to take down the Saints. Anticipate the Bucs to win a shootout and transfer on to face the Green Bay Packers within the NFC Championship sport subsequent week.

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