Photo via Tampa Bay Buccaneers
I know, I know, I’m a negative nancy for picking the Bucs to lose in back-to-back games to start the season, but I simply don’t have faith in the Bucs beating a team they’ve gone 0-4 against in the regular season over the past two seasons.
The Saints are a very good regular season team, and will continue to be that way, regardless of who’s wearing the headset.
The Saints looked very vulnerable in their Week 1 matchup with the Falcons, getting bullied by the Falcons’ offensive line and wide receiver-turned-running back Cordarrelle Patterson, who ran for 120 yards and a TD, but it was Week 1, and it was a road game (despite the seeming large faction of Saints fans in that Atlanta crowd).
Given, the Bucs are obviously coming off a very solid opening victory against the Cowboys, but the Saints have a significantly more complete roster than the Cowboys. Their playmakers are much more plentiful, with running back Alvin Kamara and receivers Jarvis Landry, Michael Thomas (who had a pair of receiving TDs in his first game back since 2020), and first round pick Chris Olave.
The Saints’ offensive line is looking to bounce back as well, having allowed four sacks and eight QB hits in their Week 1 matchup against a Falcons pass rush that is by no means elite. The Bucs are obviously coming in hot, racking up four sacks of their own against the Cowboys.
Defensively, the Saints are being touted as one of the best teams in football, with their front seven bringing back solid veterans like Cam Jordan and Demario Davis, and their secondary featuring stars such as cornerback Marshon Lattimore and safeties Tyrann Mathieu and (recently arrested but not suspended) Marcus Maye. The Bucs' depleted offensive line will have its hands full, and the ability of the Bucs’ playmakers to gain separation and find some open field will be tested.
This will be a very close game, as both teams certainly have very clear feelings about the other, and while I think the Saints will win 17-13, I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the Bucs steal this game on the road and come home 2-0.
Unfortunately, I don’t see it in the cards. The Saints dominate the Bucs in the regular season, and I don’t see this trend stopping. The Bucs’ offensive line is dealing with two backups now, with Donovan Smith seeming unlikely to play this week as he deals with an elbow injury. Chris Godwin is also out for at least a few weeks with his hamstring injury, and who knows what other injuries might occur on Sunday.
Of course, hopefully the Bucs prove me wrong, again, and remind me for a second straight week as to why I do not gamble, but who knows?
Any given Sunday, right?