The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be hosting the New Orleans Saints Sunday. Veteran quarterback Drew Brees will be playing in is his third game since returning from a thumb injury that sidelined him for five games. After suffering a 31-9 loss to the Atlanta Falcons last week and being sacked six times while throwing zero touchdowns, there is a strong chance Brees won’t have those same struggles when he faces the Bucs.
But who knows what version of the secondary Brees will face. Head coach Bruce Arians has been extremely critical of the secondary play this season. This week, he made a statement by benching Vernon Hargreaves III against the Cardinals, which resulted in his release two days later. The Buccaneers will now be younger and more inexperienced in the defensive backfield, electing to go with the trio of Carlton Davis, Jamel dean, and Sean Murphy-Bunting. However, since Hargreaves wasn’t providing much from a productivity standpoint, the coaches felt it would be best to give more playing time to the younger guys.
With all that said, the Bucs Nation staff has come together to predict the outcome of Week 11’s matchup between New Orleans and Tampa Bay.
Gil Arcia (5-4)
Score Prediction: Saints 33, Bucs 24
Why: Drew Brees and the Saints shouldn’t have issues against the Bucs defense. Tampa Bay made Teddy Bridgewater look like an All-Pro quarterback when they faced New Orleans earlier this season. Brees, a legitimate future Hall of Famer, will undoubtedly play like a Hall of Fame quarterback. Wide receiver Michael Thomas will be the beneficiary of facing a young and inexperienced secondary as he’ll have several targets his direction.
James Yarcho (3-6)
Score Prediction: Bucs 38, Saints 34
Why: For the last four seasons, the Bucs and Saints have split the season series. Yes, even when the Bucs were at their lowest, they managed to find ways to beat New Orleans. This week, they won’t have Vernon Hargreaves “covering” Michael Thomas which is a plus. The offense appeared to be more willing and ready to incorporate O.J. Howard, and Ronald Jones has shown a new wrinkle to his game - pass catching back. I think the Bucs find a way to get this one done, stringing together two much needed wins.
Evan Winter (6-3)
Score Prediction: Saints 24, Bucs 23
Why: This could easily change by Sunday. Injuries to Marshon Lattimore and Andrus Peat are huge advantages for the Bucs, but their secondary - as usual - is a major question mark. That’s never a good thing when going against Drew Brees, but the Bucs could live with their secondary if they just cut down on the penalties and turnovers.
I saw too many of the same mistakes that have cost this team games in the win over Arizona, so it’s really hard for me to pick the Bucs, but I think they keep it close and have a shot to win it in the end.
Bailey Adams (4-5)
Score Prediction: Saints 38, Bucs 31
Why: Jameis Winston is looking more comfortable in Bruce Arians’ offense lately and it feels like Ronald Jones II is on the verge of a true breakout game. Plus, the the combination of Mike Evans (who won’t be held without a catch again) and Chris Godwin could take advantage of a banged-up Saints defense that might be missing Marshon Lattimore. Sounds like a win, right? Welllll the defense is still likely to be the same ol’ defense, even without Vernon Hargreaves III. Drew Brees and Michael Thomas should expose this young secondary and edge out the Bucs, putting another “Jameis Winston plays well and they still lose” game in the books.
Kyle Marks (3-6)
Score Prediction: Bucs 45, Saints 42
Why: Both offenses are going to be firing on all cylinders and the points are going to rack up. The difference in this game will be turnovers as Drew Brees is going to throw a costly pick while Jameis Winston, that’s right... Jameis Winston, is going to have an error free day throwing the ball. Ronald Jones is going to have a true breakout game this week and top 100 yards on the ground. Defensively, the Buccaneers are going to do just enough to win this game.
David Harrison (3-6)
Score Prediction: Bucs 34, Saints 33
Why: Prior to Jameis Winston arriving to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the New Orleans Saints swept their season set three-years in a row and won seven straight while doing it. Since Winston arrived to the rivalry in 2015, neither team has earned a sweep, so I don’t expect it to change here. The Saints are coming off their second nine-point output of the year, and both of them represent the only two losses they’ve recorded thus far. Last time they scored just nine points, the Saints put up 33 on the road against the Seattle Seahawks. They’ll do the same this weekend, putting up 33 on the road against the Bucs. For Tampa Bay, they started the first half of the year 2-2, so it makes sense they start the second half the same way. Meaning they have to put up at least 34 points, something they’ve done just twice in 2019. Both coming against perceived playoff contenders.
Week 11 Fan Vote: Bucs or Saints?
This poll is closed