With Sean Payton back on the sidelines, it looks like the New Orleans Saints of old are back again. After an impressive performance in Week 1 against their hated rivals the Falcons, the Saints take to the road in Week 2 to do battle with another division rival in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Big things were expected from the Bucs in 2013, but a stunning loss in embarrassing fashion against the Jets last week has left many puzzled about their chances. Tampa seemed to be in cruise control for much of the game, before literally handing it to New York on a last-second play. That crushing defeat can be eradicated this week, but it won’t be easy going against a revamped Saints squad. The Saints are back, and it won’t be easy for Josh Freeman and the Bucs to get their season on track in Week 2. Read down below for our official selection in this all-NFC South divisional showdown.
Saints at Buccaneers Betting Odds:
New Orleans Saints -3 (-110)
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3 (-110)
Over 47.5 (-115)
Under 47.5 (-105)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Saints at Buccaneers Pick:
Despite all of New Orleans’ struggles in 2012, after a vastly impressive performance in Week1 against the powerful Falcons, the Saints seem poised to regain control of the NFC South division. They can solidify their claim to it with yet another solid outing in Week 2 against a capable but underperforming Buccaneers squad. Tampa Bay was simply atrocious in Week 1 against one of the worst teams in the NFL, the New York Jets. The Bucs could only muster a mediocre 250 yards in that game, while committing a pathetic 13 penalties. Josh Freeman has yet to live up to the hype, and only seems to be regressing. Even against an average Saints defense, Freeman will have trouble. New Orleans generate constant pressure last week against Atlanta, and if they get to Freeman with regularity, it will be a very long day for the former Kansas State product.
On the other side of the football, look for yet another amazing performance from Drew Brees. Brees just always seems to be able to get the job done, especially against the Bucs. In 2012, Brees completed 53 of 76 passes against Tampa Bay, including eight touchdowns and just one interception. Nobody on the Bucs’ defense will be able to handle matchup nightmare Jimmy Graham, and look for that connection once again be in fine form on Sunday afternoon.
The Bucs are a mess right now. Players within the locker room think head coach Greg Schiano rigged team voting on captains to prevent Josh Freeman from becoming one. Freeman in turn has missed team meetings and the team photo. Heading into a pivotal clash against the Saints with that kind of mindset is never good, and surely won’t help against a motivated New Orleans team on their path to redemption. The Saints are too good right now and will have minimal issues in taking care of a Bucs squad in disarray. New Orleans simply has too many weapons, and only having to lay three points with Sean Payton’s Saints seems like a gift. Roll with the Saints minus a field goal here.
PICK = Saints -3 (-110)