In the final game of the 2017 season, all eyes will be on Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston as he looks to build on a strong finish to the season.
There’s nothing left to play for but pride and spoils. That hasn’t stopped Jameis Winston from putting together some of his best games since becoming the Buccaneers’ quarterback in 2015. Not only that, but the games have come against division rivals, just as today’s game will be.
The Saints are in position to lock up the number two seed which gets them at least one home playoff game as well as a first round bye should they win. That said, Winston isn’t going to mail it in just because the Bucs are one of, if not the most disappointing team in the NFL.
Winston is currently on pace to finish with his highest yards per attempt, yards per completion, and touchdown to interception ratio of his young career. With another strong performance Sunday, Winston may add a little validity to the Glazers’ decision to keep Dirk Koetter on as head coach in 2018. Winston’s development, like him or not, has been evident in the games in which he’s played this season with a healthy throwing shoulder.
Facing the Saints won’t be easy. They are fighting for the two seed for a reason. Their offense is one of the league’s best with future Hall of Famer Drew Brees under center to go along with the best running back tandem in the league. The defense has been a shock to many – myself included – as they are ranked eighth best in the NFL in points allowed per game (19.7) and are just outside the top ten, ranking eleventh in passing yards allowed per game with 216.8. Tampa Bay is averaging 268.1 passing yards per game, but the majority of games have been played from behind, rendering the running game useless.
Winston can shine a light on a very dark season with one more stand-out game against a division rival Sunday and can give Buccaneers fans a little hope heading into 2018. Although Bucs fans’ hope and expectations are sure to tank this off-season, Winston is not allowing the team to do the same.
The Buccaneers and Saints kick off at 4:25 p.m. est on FOX.