The Tampa Bay Buccaneers need to get their act together fast if they want any chance at a playoff spot. In Week 1, the Bucs gifted a win to a weak New York Jets team who they should have beaten handily.
It was the most glaring, but the late hit that put New York in position for the game-winning field goal wasn’t their only mistake. Tampa Bay gave the Jets a total of 102 yards on 13 penalties in the game. On top of that, the offense managed just 250 total yards, gave up two turnovers, and muffed a snap in the end zone resulting in a safety.
The Bucs are way too talented to be playing that badly. Every season the NFL has at least one talented team that underachieves due to playing undisciplined and flat-out stupid football, and so far Tampa Bay has good battle with the New York Giants for the lead in that category. The good news is the season is still young, and the Bucs have the opportunity to learn from their abysmal performance instead of allowing it to be their identity.
While Tampa was up north losing to the Jets, the New Orleans Saints were beating a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the Atlanta Falcons. The Saints squeaked by thanks to a solid performance by the defense, which was widely believed to be a weakness for the team. They successfully brought pressure to Matt Ryan all day and came up big on some clutch plays.
Both New Orleans and Tampa have very talented rosters, and when the Saints visit the Bucs on Sunday, I believe the outcome will be summed up by two words — coaching matters. Tampa is at home and has all the tools to win this game, but Coach Greg Schiano hasn’t shown he knows how to utilize them yet.
Sean Payton is back as New Orleans’ head coach, and I think his effect will be the difference in the game. In week one, the Saints looked prepared, organized and ready to contend in the NFC again.
Prediction: New Orleans 34, Tampa Bay 21