Undoubtedly the biggest game of Week 9 will occur in the Sunday evening slot when the New Orleans Saints take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a huge divisional showdown.
With the Saints entering at 5-2, and the Bucs at 6-2 – it isn’t hyperbole to suggest that this pivotal matchup could very well decide who wins the NFC South and receives a likely bye in the first-round of the playoffs.
There is also extra drama surrounding this game as Antoinio Brown makes his return to the NFL with Tampa Bay. The former All Pro wideout should still have plenty of burst left in his legs, and will add to one of the most dynamic offenses in football. The Saints are no slouches on the defensive side of things though, and it should produce a fascinating matchup.
For New Orleans, the Saints have been quiet all week about an apparent injury to the shoulder of Drew Brees’ throwing arm. While there is limited information out there, he should play – though his ability does remain in question. The Saints will also welcome back star wideout Michael Thomas – whose game-breaking ability will surely be welcome downfield.
With big name players returning, and a divisional title on the line, this edition of Brady vs. Brees should produce some fireworks. Expect a very skilled encounter, and certainly a matchup worthy of its primetime slot. Continue reading on beneath the posted odds for further analysis and a betting wager to close out your Sunday on a winning note. Enjoy the game!
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Betting Odds:
New Orleans Saints +4.5 (-110)
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -4.5 (-110)
Over 51 (-110)
Under 51 (-110)
*Betting odds provided by BetOnline.ag
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick:
While much fanfare has surrounded the return to action for Antonio Brown, don’t expect big plays from the outset. The Bucs’ possess a talented trio of pass-catchers, though none are really playing up to expectations right now. Mike Evans has been pretty brutal this season, Chris Godwin is likely playing injured in Week 9, and instead Tom Brady continues to throw constant check-downs to the likes of Scotty Miller and Rob Gronkowski. It’s been effective thus far, but the Saints offer up a different defensive style.
New Orleans is very stout against the run and won’t fear Ronald Jones or Leonard Fournette, and instead look for them to apply pressure up the middle to rattle Brady, and spend their time trying to limit the Bucs through the air. In the secondary, expect Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins to play key roles at stifling the Bucs’ aerial threat – and though big expectations surround Tampa Bay in Week 9, the Saints’ have one of the better stop units in football and should show that on Sunday.
On the ground, Alvin Kamara remains an elite dual-threat back. Though Tampa has a great run defense, Kamara will be dangerous at attacking the Bucs’ linebackers as a pass-catcher from the backfield. If Brees’ shoulder is hurting, he’s going to rely on Kamara on short-distance throws.
Tampa is getting far too much respect in this spot, and though the line has shaded all week toward the Saints, it still sits too high hours before kickoff. The Brees injury isn’t anything to worry about, while the amount of mouths the Bucs are going to need to feed on offense could prove to be a distraction. The Saints’ defense can and will limit Tampa Bay’s new-look attack, and with Michael Thomas back – that should make a huge difference. Roll with the Saints on Sunday night.