Buccaneers: Players that must be stopped to win the division

TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Defensive end Robert Ayers
TAMPA, FL - JANUARY 1: Defensive end Robert Ayers /
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Quarterback Drew Brees

Drew Brees came to the NFC South via free agency in 2006 and has been very effective being selected to nine Pro Bowls appearing in one NFC Championship game and winning one Super Bowl in 2009 against the Indianapolis Colts.

During his time in the NFC South he has been one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and of course that includes games against the Bucs where he has a 14-8 (.636) record.

He has posted an eleven season total against the Bucs of 551 completions on 830 attempts (66%), 6269 yards (285 avg/game), 43 touchdowns, 24 interceptions, and a 97.25 QB rating. Now most of these seasons are irrelevant to the current Bucs but it still shows what he has done against the Bucs over the years.

The past five seasons is probably the most relevant to the current Bucs roster and in that time Brees has 265 completions on 403 attempts (66%) for 3161 yards (316 avg/game), 20 touchdowns, thirteen interceptions, 115 QB rating, and a 4-2 (.667) record against the Buccaneers.

Another case where getting pressure to Brees will limit his huge number and not allow him to find that open receiver.

Wide Receiver Michael Thomas

With Brandin Cooks shipped off to New England Michael Thomas becomes the new receiving weapon in New Orleans, and although this selection might be a surprise he is a very good receiver that gave the Bucs some fits last season.

After being drafted in the second round he did have a very good season as a whole with 92 receptions on 121 targets 1137 yards (12.4 yards/reception) and nine touchdowns. Heading into 2017, he is THE threat in the receiving game for the Saints.

Last season against the Bucs he had six receptions on eight targets for 98 yards (16.3 yards/reception) and granted he is no Julio Jones or Kelvin Benjamin but still at 6’3” he may give the Bucs corners some fits for years to come especially with Drew Brees slinging him the rock.