Can this game go different for the Buccaneers?
Tampa Bay is already 0-2 against the Saints this season. New Orleans has dismantled the Bucs on both sides of the ball in a compelling fashion, and the pressure is on for the Buccaneers to prove that they can actually compete with one of the top teams in the league.
The Saints are coming into this game as the rightful favorites. Even with the annual injury to Drew Brees down the final stretch, the Saints still found a way to lock up the division with relative ease, and they remain one of the best teams on paper remaining.
While Brees has healed up in time for the postseason, his game has struggled in recent weeks, which is not a prospect the Saints want to deal with in their biggest game of the season. Brees can single-handedly win or lose this game, and his performance will be the most significant determinant for the victor.
If Brees is on his game and the Bucs sit in zones on defense, Brees could sleepwalk through this game and lead the Saints to a comfortable victory. If Tampa Bay can keep Brees off his rhythm and hit the opposing receivers at the line of scrimmage, New Orleans won’t be able to get their passing game off the ground.
Every team in the league already knows that relying on the run too heavily won’t work out when facing the Bucs. If the Buccaneers take Brees out of the equation, which is a challenging prospect, they’ll put Tom Brady in the perfect position to earn his next playoff win.