The New Orleans Saints have had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers number this year, winning both games they played this year. Can they pull the hat trick and beat the Bucs a third time in the second round of the NFC playoffs Sunday? Beating a team thrice in one year is not easy to do, but the 12-4 Saints, winners of the NFC South, have home field advantage. They come into this game as 3 point favorites. But the 11-5 Buccaneers have the GOAT, Tom Brady, so anything is possible.
Bucs gets past WashingtonThe Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 10.5 point favorites over the Washington Football Team in last weekend's wildcard game. Washington was 7-9 and they were without starting quarterback Alex Smith and were forced to start Taylor Heinicke. This game had blowout written all over it. But Heinecke and his Football Team showed a surprising amount of fight. When Heinicke hit Steven Sims on an 11 yard touchdown strike with 4:5i left in the game, the Football Team was within a touchdown, down 28-23. The Bucs tacked on a field goal by Ryan Succop with about 2:49 left and held on for the 31-23 win.
Tom Brady and the Bucs offense was firing on all cylinders, generating 507 total yards. Brady threw for 381 yards and 2 touchdowns while Leonard Fournette rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown. Mike Evans led the way with 6 catches for 119 yards, while Antonio Brown and Chris Godwin each caught touchdown passes. The defense was not quite as crisp. They gave up 375 yards and allowed a third string quarterback who hadn't started a game all year to throw for 309 yards and a touchdown.
Saints have a healthy big 3The New Orleans Saints haven't played many games this year with their big three all on the field at the same time. The Big three, of course, being Drew Brees, wideout Michael Thomas, and running back Alvin Kamara. Injuries to all three at different times have kept them apart, but now all three are healthy and they looked very good in this weekend's easy 21-9 win over the Bears. The final score made it look closer than it was as the score was actually 21-3 until the Bears scored a garbage time touchdown on the final play of the game.
Brees was 28 for 39 for 265 yards and 2 touchdowns against a very good Bears defense. Thomas caught 5 passes for 73 yards and a touchdown, while Kamara rushed for 99 yards and a touchdown. But the defense was even more impressive. They only gave up 239 total yards and held the Bears excellent running back David Montgomery to 31 yards on 12 carries. The Bears only had 11 first downs and the Saints defense held them to only 1 third down conversion in 10 tries.
Stats & Trends
- Buccaneers are 3-7-1 ATS in their last 11 games after accumulating more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Buccaneers are 3-7-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Buccaneers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games following a straight up win.
- Buccaneers are 10-26-1 ATS in their last 37 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
- Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games as a road underdog.
- Buccaneers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in January.
- Saints are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing less than 15 points in their previous game.
- Saints are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after allowing less than 250 total yards in their previous game.
- Saints are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games as a home favorite.
- Saints are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. NFC South.
- Saints are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 games as a favorite.
- Saints are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 vs. NFC.
- Saints are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall.
- Saints are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games.
Take the Saints here giving up the points. It's hard to beat a team three times in one season. This is a phrase we've heard a lot this week, but it's not like it hasn't happened. In fact, it happens more often than you think. The Saints beat the Bucs twice this year. The first was the first game of the season, where Brady was still getting familiar with his weapons. Okay, fine. But the second was week 9 and it was a 38-3 beat down. Here's why I like the Saints -- the defense. The D is legit, ranked 5th in points allowed. The Bucs will need to score in the 30s to win because their defense is shaky and they will need a lot of points to win. I just don't see them scoring 35 points against this Saints defense in New Orleans, not even with the GOAT at quarterback.