Two NFC South teams who are heading in different directions face off in Tampa Florida as the New Orleans Saints visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Saints will be looking to get back on track after a surprising road loss to the Arizona Cardinals last week. The Bucs will look to continue their winning ways after a big road victory over the Cincinnati Bengals last week. The Saints are not playing nearly half as well as last year. They’re having issues stopping the run, and their defense is finding it hard to force turnovers. The loss of Daren Sharper is becoming a glaring role in this team’s inability to make plays. The Saints are also sorely missing Reggie Bush. There are few defensive players who can line up across from Bush when he’s in the slot. But with him out of the lineup due to injury, the Saints have to replace him with the likes of Jeremy Shockey or Lance Moore. Neither of these players have the athleticism that Bush possesses, and neither has gained the trust from Brees that Bush has. Brees is forcing throws inside and he’s paying the price (intercepted three times last week).
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The Bucs, on the other hand, are winning games. They’re not pretty, but thanks to good game planning and execution, the Bucs are turning heads around the league. QB Josh Freeman is spreading the ball well, and WR Mike Williams has shown that he’s more than just a deep threat, but can be also used a possession receiver. The 4th round pick had 1st round potential before the draft, but due to “character issues”, his stock dropped, and Tampa snagged him it what might be the steal of the draft.
Last year the Saints went into Tampa and blew out the Bucs, while later on in the year the Bucs surprised everyone by beating the Saints in the Superdome by a field goal.
Saints vs. Buccaneers Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
New Orleans Saints -4.5
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers +4.5
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Saints vs. Buccaneers Prediction for Week 6 Betting:
Spread Prediction (Top Play): The Saints are not the team they were last year. The offense is one dimensional as they’re getting nothing from the running game. Pierre Thomas hasn’t practiced all week and most likely will not be on the field again this week, which means career backup Ladell Betts will share the ball with Chris Ivory. The Bucs, however, haven’t improved their run D from last year, as they rank 30th in yards given up per game on the ground. However, the Bucs are winning close games, and with the Saints talent, it’ll take a complete game by Tampa to keep New Orleans out of the game. The fact of the matter is that Brees is still a top 3 QB, regardless of the Saints struggles. I don’t like the Saints to blow this game wide open; it’ll be a tough, low scoring, close game between two division rivals, and I like the underdog Tampa Bay Bucs to cover the spread in this one.
Game Total Prediction: Tampa’s run D will be a major factor in this game. New Orleans will try and sustain long drives to keep the Bucs D on the field while generating points. But this game plan has been a problem for the Saints in recent weeks, as Brees is out there for long drives but New Orleans are failing to turn them into points. Last year no team was better at striking fast when they needed to, and also slowing the game down through the air, but this year with the inability to run the ball, the loss of Bush, and the poor play from their defense, teams are hanging back and waiting for Brees to make a bad decision, which they’re capitalizing on. I like this game to go Under the number because the real battle will be upfront between the lines. The Saints will try to establish the run early, while the Bucs offense will also look to keep Brees and co. off the field for as long as possible. Look for field goals galore here.