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Saints-Buccaneers preview: The final countdown

The Bucs have one more game before they have to start focusing on next season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Carolina Panthers Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will end their 2017 season today by playing the New Orleans Saints, on the final day of the year. The Bucs have been eliminated from the playoffs, and are playing for draft position: a loss would help them there, though a win would certainly be more enjoyable to watch and provide at least some limited positive feelings.

Let’s dig into the preview to see which it’ll be: win, or lose.

Reviewing the Saints’ last four games:

Car 21, NO 31 W

NO 17, Atl 20 L

NYJ 19, NO 31 W

Atl 13, NO 23 W

Points per game for the past four games: 25.5 points

Points per game against for the past four games: 18.25 points

The Saints defense has been on a tear lately, including its loss in this last four game set. A silver lining here for the Bucs is that the Saints’ last two losses have been on away games. Tampa played well against the Falcons at home on Monday Night and all of their four consecutive losses have been one score games, with three of the four losses by 3 points.

Saints Defense

Pass Advantage: Bucs

Rush Advantage: Saints

Points Advantage: Saints

With a healthy Jameis Winston, can the Bucs offense continue to hum along and exploit the Saints secondary? The Bucs will not want to get into a shootout match with Drew Brees, so expect a balanced offense.

Bucs Defense

Pass Advantage: Saints

Rush Advantage: Saints

Points Advantage: Saints

Our swashbucklers are always at a disadvantage in these statistical comparisons, but they have been valiant in their efforts in their losing streak. The Bucs need to stop the Saints run game. Can the Bucs’ LB corps rise to the occasion and force Brees to throw the ball? Yeah, that alternative does not sound as great, but it is limiting the Saints offense to be one-dimensional.


With the news that Dirk Koetter is being retained, there could be one surprise win here. Yet with the Saints playing for a division title, the Bucs need to overachieve if they plan on going out with one last hurrah.