Game 5 of the 2019 – 2020 Season for the New Orleans Saints
If you were a gambler and wanted to make a bet on the New Orleans Saints with lots of upside but probably a sucker’s bet. Prior to the injury, the New Orleans Saints had a 13.4% chance of making it to the NFL Championship Game on Feb 2, 2020. After the injury to Drew Bree’s thumb and the surgery to repair it that number dropped to 7.9%. That meant you could bet $100 on the Saints to make it to the Big Game and if they did you would win $4,000. So, who knows what you would have won if you bet and they would be 2 – 0 without Drew Brees but they ARE!
Now the New Orleans Saints move into their NFC South Division schedule against rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Let’s break the matchup down and see who really has the advantage by position on each side of the ball.
This is an interesting position to compare. Teddy Bridgewater has been playing well enough to win against two tough opponents. Teddy’s upside is nowhere near that of Jameis Winston, but Bridgewater’s downside is also higher. I have to give the advantage to Jameis Winston even though I believe that Winston could lose the game for the Bucs with his turnovers.
Advantage: Jameis Winston, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
While the Tampa Bay Bucs are better than they have been in the past, this is a no brainer. The New Orleans Saints have Alvin Kamara, who would tip the scales alone, Latavius Murray and then toss Taysum Hill in the mix and the Saints win hands down. I don’t really see the Saints using Hill too much since he is the number two QB for the Saints.
Advantage: Alvin Kamara and crew, New Orleans Saints
There is no doubt that Michael Thomas will be the best receiver on the field. Thomas isn’t the fastest but his sure hands, excellent route running and strength make him second to none. The problem is we are looking at all the receivers. Michael Thomas is the only receiver in the top 20, in receiving yards, while the Bucs have two players. Both Chris Godwin and Mike Evans make the list. The Saints make use of Kamara but that doesn’t tip the scales.
Advantage: Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and receiving corps, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
This is an area that has been disappointing for the New Orleans Saints. Jared Cook was supposed to make a difference but has a total of 90 yards receiving at this point in the year. Cameron Brate, 61 yards, and O.J. Howard, 131 yards, offer a look that the New Orleans Saints can only wish for at this point.
Advantage: O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
To this point, it would seem that the Bucs hold the advantage on offense. The things is none of their advantages are huge. Each area has been close. The difference between the New Orleans Saints and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on the offensive line is HUGE! The Saints are in the top 5 offensive lines in the NFL and the Bucs are in the bottom 5.
Advantage: New Orleans Saints Offensive Line
Overall Offensive Advantage: New Orleans Saints
While the Bucs have scored plenty of points, I don’t believe that they can overcome the turnovers that will occur. Winston doesn’t work well when pressured and his line won’t hold up. So, the steady game plan of the New Orleans Saints offense will win the day. I believe that Bridgewater will push the ball down the field against the Bucs.
The return of Sheldon Rankins moves the needle decisively in this area. Rankins is a BEAST! While this doesn’t show up in the stats, he occupies space and forces teams to run outside. This allows Cameron Jordan to often go against single blocking. This should be a field day for the Saints.
Advantage: Sheldon Rankins, Cameron Jordan and their mates, New Orleans Saints
The strength of the Tampa Bay Bucs in their linebackers. They have a great combination of veterans, like Lavonte David and rookies, like Devin White. While White is questionable, the Bucs have the advantage in this area.
Advantage: Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Bucs
This is another area of great strength for the New Orleans Saints. When Marshon Lattimore plays to his level he can handle just about any receiver. The Bucs really don’t have any true cornerbacks. The safeties for the Saints are also playing well. Von Bell and Marcus Williams are holding their own to this point in the season.
Advantage: Saints Defensive backs
Overall Defensive Advantage: New Orleans Saints
The difference between the New Orleans Saints defense and the Tampa Bay Bucs is noticeable. I believe that the New Orleans Saints should have a banner day against the Tampa Bay Bucs offense. I don’t believe that the Bucs can take advantage of the New Orleans Saints conservative game plan and as a result the Saints make take come chances. Thomas Morstead will also be key in keeping the Bucs on their side of the field.
Coaching advantage goes to the New Orleans Saints. This doesn’t mean that Bruce Arians is a bad coach, he just isn’t Sean Payton. Sean Payton has adjusted well without Drew Brees and his play calling will also give an advantage to the Saints offense.
The Saints will win big. Winston will be plagued by turnovers. The Bucs offensive line won’t be able to handle the Saints defensive scheme. The Saints will also be able to take advantage of a weak Bucs defense and stretch the field.
Final Score Prediction – Saints 31 Bucs 12.