His rookie season, Godwin came down with just one reception for nine yards as the Bucs lost 30-10 in New Orleans. Then, to finish the season, he had seven catches for 111-yards and a game winning touchdown in Week 17.
For his sophomore performances, he turned in a three catch 41-yard game with a score to open the season on the road helping spark the ‘Fitzmagic’ craze of September 2018. Then, with Winston back under center, Tampa Bay fell to the Saints at home 28-14 as Godwin was held again to one catch against the division rival.
So, if history shows a pattern, then it’s time for Godwin to have another quiet game on the road against the Saints. But this year isn’t following the past two years. Instead of being kind of like a starting receiver, like he was in 2018 while DeSean Jackson was still in town, he’s a starter. No kinda, no ‘we think of him as..’. No. He’s a starter. The number two receiver on this team according to the depth chart, the number one receiver according to stat lines, and the third most productive receiver in yards the league has seen thus far in 2019.
He also has a touchdown catch in three of the first four games this year and the Buccaneers are 2-1 when Godwin scores. More importantly, in his short but impressive career thus far, the Bucs are undefeated against the Saints when he gets into the end zone.
So, the game plan should be clear. Get the ball to Godwin. And considering he’ll be facing generally lesser coverage given the expected match-up between Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore, it’s even more crucial the Bucs get No. 12 involved early and often.
The man we expect to line up across from Godwin for most of the afternoon will be Saints cornerback Eli Apple. Who we discussed, here.
Apple and his New Orleans defensive teammates have been praised as being big catalysts to the team going 2-0 since losing future Hall of Fame quarterback, Drew Brees. Beating the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys is no easy task, and the defensive unit contributed big time, especially last week against Dak Prescott and his guys.
But Tampa Bay has something Dallas and Seattle don’t. Two Top-5 wide receivers in the NFL. And Apple is facing a match-up he simply can’t win by himself. He’ll need a heavy pass rush, which leaves him on an island against Godwin who has the technical tools and physical ability to beat the former Ohio State corner all day long in the Superdome.
It’s going to be a long day for Apple and his secondary teammates and Godwin is very familiar with the unit as three of the four played at Ohio State while Godwin was at Penn State.
New Orleans’ offense hasn’t looked the same with Teddy Bridgewater scoring just four touchdowns in nearly three full games without Brees, after scoring three in Week 1 with him.
The Saints want a low scoring affair with plenty of defense and perhaps a defensive score or two for their side. The Bucs are going to look for points, and after getting off to fast starts in both Weeks 3 and 4, will look to do the same in New Orleans for Week 5.
An early jump on this division rival will be hard for the Saints to overcome, and getting that early lead will almost have to go - at least partially - through this week’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers X-Factor, Chris Godwin.