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NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sporting News’ early picks for Week 1 don’t favor Buccaneers in Tom Brady’s debut

We’re about one month away from kickoff...

When the NFL’s regular season schedule for 2020 was released, it was hard not to be fixated on one particular Week 1 matchup: The Tom Brady-led Tampa Bay Buccaneers hitting the road to take on Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Of course, that’s always a big one for the respective fan bases, but with Brady now in the mix, this matchup means much more on the national level. It’s Brady vs. Brees. The revamped Bucs against the three-time defending NFC South champion Saints. It’s pretty huge, there’s no doubt about that.

It’s also a tough matchup for Tampa Bay. Of course, New Orleans is always tough, but given the lack of offseason programs and the absence of preseason games, this is a tough one to start with for a new-look Bucs team, even if it is Tom Brady under center.

Sporting News apparently agrees, as the publication’s early NFL picks for Week 1 include a Saints victory over Brady and the Bucs:

Drew Brees and Tom Brady meet right away as new NFC South rivals after interesting offseasons for both venerable future Hall of Fame all-time greats. Brees might be starting his last season and wants to prove he still has it as a leader and passer after an injury-marred 2019. Brady will have a chip on his shoulder in trying to show New England made a mistake in letting him get to Tampa Bay. That should lead to a high-scoring duel as expected in the Superdome with both QBs deploying their myriad weapons for big plays. The Saints have the comfort of home, a tough place for visitors even without fans. They also are a little more established as a division power with the more reliable all-around defense.”

With that description, it was no surprise to see the pick being a 34-27 New Orleans win. The article has the Saints as four-point favorites in the game with an over/under set at 49.5, but FanDuel Sportsbook has New Orleans favored by slightly less—3.5—with the over/under also at 49.5.

We’re just about one month away from kickoff between the Bucs and Saints. And after what has been a crazy offseason—one that has felt about three years long—it can’t come soon enough.

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