Week 9 Preview: New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneersby Kyle O'Connell November 7, 2020 1 comment
The New Orleans Saints (5-2) face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2) in a pivotal division matchup on Sunday Night Football. The last time these two met back in week one, Drew Brees out-played Tom Brady in his first game as a Buccaneer, and the Saints won 34-23.
Perhaps the biggest storyline of this game is the return of veteran wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was suspended the first eight games of the season for multiple violations of the personal-conduct policy. The last time Brown played the Saints, he caught 14 passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
In primetime and with high playoff implications, this showdown between two of the greatest quarterbacks ever has the making of a great game.
New Orleans Saints
The Saints won a hard-fought game in overtime against the Bears last week. The good news is that Brees looked sharp against a good defense without his top two receivers in Michael Thomas (hamstring) and Emmanuel Sanders (COVID). The star of the game was undoubtedly running back Alvin Kamara.
Kamara racked up 163 scrimmage yards, including a 47-yard catch and run. He joins Matt Forte and LaDainian Tomlinson as the only running backs with 50+ receptions in each of their first four seasons. In Week 1, the Buccaneers held Kamara to a season-low 67, granted he was able to find the end zone twice.
Injuries are light for New Orleans this week. The biggest concern is with Thomas, who the Saints have been without the last seven games with both ankle and hamstring injuries. However, recent reports from the team say that Thomas will likely play after practicing every day this week.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers had a Monday night duel with the New York Giants in Week 8. Although the Bucs won the game 25-23, it was much closer than expected, and their defense struggled most of the game. The one positive from the game is that the connection between Brady and Rob Gronkowski is still there, as their streak of touchdown connections improved to three straight weeks.
Contrary to the Saints, the Buccaneers enter the week banged up. Two key pass rushers Jason Pierre-Paul and Ndamukong Suh did not practice on Friday and are trending in the wrong direction to play Sunday. Both have combined for 10.5 sacks so far this season. On the other side of the ball, starting guard Ali Marpet has been ruled out with a concussion. Chris Godwin is questionable with a broken finger that sidelined him a week ago as well.
The Saints lead the all-time series 36-27 and have won the past four matchups between the two franchises.
Date: November 8, 2020
Start Time: 8:20 P.M. est
Location: Tampa, Florida
Stadium: Raymond James Stadium
TV Info: NBC
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: NO +4.5 (-110) | TB -4.5 (-110)
Moneyline: NO +180 | TB -225
Over/Under: O 50.5 (-110) | U 50.5 (-110)
Picking against the Saints is never easy. The Bucs have been scoring the ball with ease and, therefore, should cover the spread in this one. With tons of playmakers on both sides of the ball, it would be a huge surprise if this doesn’t end up in a shootout. Take the over with confidence.
The Saints have been playing great football and are expecting to get back two key pieces on offense. The Buccaneers explosive offense and talented defense should get the job done this week despite that. Expect Brown to be super involved in his Buccaneers debut, and even more if Godwin doesn’t play.
Final Score: New Orleans Saints 31, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 37
Follow Kyle O’Connell on Twitter @KyleOConnell23
Main Image Credit:
Embed from Getty Images