On Sunday, the New Orleans Saints will travel to Tampa, Fla., to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Week 11 NFC South matchup. The Saints enter the game at 7-2 while the Buccaneers are just 3-6 this season. The two teams met in Week 5 where the Saints came away with a 31-24 victory. The Saints are favored in this game by 5.5 points.
The Saints suffered a surprising loss against the Atlanta Falcons last weekend, with Atlanta earning just its second win of the season. This goes to show crazy things can happen in divisional games like this if teams don’t dot their I’s and cross their T’s.
After taking that loss, the Saints and head coach Sean Peyton will surely be as prepared as possible going into Tampa Bay to avoid their first back-to-back losses of the season. They are planning to have Alvin Kamara back closer to 100 percent going into this week and will likely utilize their full playbook to secure a win on the road.
While the Saints have been banged up all year between Drew Brees missing games with his thumb injury and Kamara dealing with issues of his own, they managed to stay on the winning path behind guys like Teddy Bridgewater and Michael Thomas. In fact, Thomas’ 86 receptions are the most in the league for any player.
The Saints will most likely end up in another shootout with the Buccaneers as they have in their past meetings. They will rely heavily on Brees, Kamara, and Thomas to outlast the Bucs and seal the win.
New Orleans is averaging 22.7 points per game right now while allowing 20.2. They are also posting 383 yards of offense while allowing 335.2. Everything points to this being another high-scoring game with the ball moving up and down the field for a full four quarters and possibly overtime.
Lots Of Close Ones
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers enter this Week 11 matchup coming off a close 30-27 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. While their record is far from impressive or where they would like to be as a team, the Buccaneers have played some of the top teams in the league very close, including a 40-34 overtime loss to the Seahawks in Week 9.
The Buccaneers have some bright spots on their team like Chris Godwin, Mike Thomas, and Shaquil Barret, who already has 11.5 sacks this season, but they have too many holes on their roster, specifically their defense that leads them to need over 30 points a game if they hope to win.
The Bucs are currently posting 28.9 points per game while allowing 31. This explains both their close games and their high-scoring shootouts. That’s exactly what I would expect to see this week against the Saints as well. They are also allowing 393 yards per game while putting up 408 of their own.
What To Expect
As I said, this has all the makings of a high-flying, high-scoring game where each team posts around 400 yards of offense and 30-plus points. On the other hand, division games always have a funny way of going in a different direction, as the Saints found out last week.
I believe this will end up being about a seven-point game like their first meeting. The Buccaneers should be able to put up a good fight and hang around all game, but the Saints are a more disciplined team, and the Buccaneers’ mistakes will ultimately lead to their seventh loss of the season. I’m taking New Orleans.