The New Orleans Saints finally won a game two weeks ago and now coming off of their bye week look to put together another victory to give them two for the season. This week the Saints will have to go through their division rivals the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in order to do so and based on how the Bucs defense has looked early on this year it might not be much a struggle for Drew Brees and company.
The Saints (1-4) have one of the top ranked passing attacks in the NFL (as they have every season since Brees’ arrival) and are first in passing yards gained per game (326.8 yards) and eighth in points scored per game (28.2 points). Brees has passed for 1,720 yards (6th in the NFL) and 14 touchdowns (tied for 2nd) but has thrown six interceptions and has only completed 58.9% of his attempts so far this year.
If Brees can improve his completion percentage and minimize his picks the Saints should be even more potent through the air. New Orleans needs to get their running game on track which is 30th in the league only gaining 75.2 yards per game, however this may not be an ideal game to do so due to the fact that the Bucs are third in the league in rushing yards allowed per game (75 yards).
The Tampa Bay defense is only good at stopping the run though because against the pass they are 31st in yards allowed giving up 312.2 passing yards per game so Brees should have a monster game.
The Bucs (2-4) are coming off of a lopsided victory last week against the Kansas City Chiefs 38-10, in which quarterback Josh Freeman had his best game of the year (15-26 for 328 yards and 3 TD). The Bucs offense needs to continue that upward trend and this would be an ideal week to do so facing a Saints defense that seems like they couldn’t even stop a Pop Warner team.
The New Orleans offense is currently ranked 32nd in yards allowed per game (456 yards), 26th in passing yards allowed per game (283.2 yards), 31st in rushing yards allowed per game (172.8 yards) and 30th in points allowed per game (30.8 points) not to mention the team collectively has recorded just three interceptions. This is a perfect time for linebacker Jonathan Vilma to attempt a comeback and try to inject some life into a lifeless unit.
The x-factor is this game is going to be Darren Sproles in he can continue to play at the level which he has been all season (17 carries for 91 yards and 28 receptions for 235 yards and 2 TD) and give the Saints some much needed help in the running game then they should be able to outscore the Bucs even if their defense allows 50 points. I’ll take New orleans in this one 45-31.