The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-1, following a defeat against the Philadelphia Eagles. Week four will be the first opportunity fans have to see how Baker Mayfield and this version Todd Bowles’ Bucs respond to adversity. Through three weeks, the Buccaneers have positioned themselves in a three-way tie for the NFC South lead. Can Tampa take their undefeated road record to New Orleans and come away with a victory? That’s what’s on the line this Sunday, when the Buccaneers take on the New Orleans Saints. Some things that could, should, and will play out during the game—
This game could turn over a new leaf.
Buccaneers-Saints (aside from a few Tom Brady era games) has been a one sided series as of late. It’s been a good long while since Buccaneers’ fans were able to look forward to playing their divisional foe. Tampa Bay has the chance to enter a new realm, where the two times per season they are pitted against New Orleans it is something look forward to, rather than something to dread. The Hall of Fame quarterbacks are gone, there’s no more Canton-bound coaches. These two franchises each got new passers this offseason. The rosters are built on new fresh faced competitors. Sunday, the rivalry has a chance to be renewed. This game could turn over a new leaf.
The Buccaneers should be able to get pressure on the quarterback.
It may be Jameis Winston, it may be Derek Carr, for at least a few plays on Sunday it will be Taysom Hill. No matter who fields the snap Tampa Bay should be able to generate consistent pressure on them. New Orleans has allowed at least three sacks in every game this season and they’ve let up double digit sacks over the first three weeks. Todd Bowles’ defense has always been known, first and foremost, for its consistent willingness to blitz. Bowles’ blitzing has helped Tampa pile up 10 sacks so far this season. The formula, on paper, seems very calculable. The Bucs’ defense sends a lot of blitzes, which get a lot of pressure, since the Saints have underwhelmed in pass protection this year. In a crucial divisional game the Bucs should be able to get pressure on the Saints’ passer.
This game will be… Spirited.
Headlining the frisky nature of the Buccaneers-Saints rivalry is Mike Evans versus Marshon Lattimore. Evans and Lattimore have been an entertaining product for fans of the rivalry to watch and forecasts to be as captivating as ever. Baker Mayfield has displayed a high-level of comfort throwing the ball to Mike Evans, this season. Mayfield and Evans have already hooked up on 17 catches for 297 yards and a touchdown in each of the team’s first three games. Both Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore have taken turns outdoing one another in a very competitive, long-term head-to-head feud. Their animated interactions have been a microcosm of the combative relationship between these two organizations.
Over the course of the last few seasons, the Buccaneers and Saints have played contentious, physical games. It is unlikely Tampa Bay and New Orleans get through this Sunday without some form of confrontation. The key to victory will be who can take that intensity and channel it properly, into the physicality that will be needed for victory.
Do you agree with our list? Do you disagree? What are some things you think could happen, should happen, and will happen this week?
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