The Saints could be under-staffed in key matchup.
The entire football world is watching the Buccaneers today to see if they can finally overcome the Saints. New Orleans has clearly been the better team in the first two matchups, but the Bucs will still get one more chance to prove themselves.
After going all-in on Tom Brady, the draft, and free agency, the Bucs have made it to the game before the NFC Championship in their first game of the Tom Brady era. On paper, that is a massive accomplishment for a team that has been terrible in recent years, but everyone knows that the potential lies beyond today for Tampa Bay.
The Bucs have been one of the hottest teams in football in the past month. Brady has been lights out throwing the football, the play-calling has improved, and the defense is starting to return to their high level from the start of the season. The Saints have been a different story.
More from The Pewter Plank
- Devin White posts cryptic message to Lavonte David on Twitter
- ESPN predicts surprising outcome to Devin White trade saga
- Updated Buccaneers depth chart after signing two players from rookie minicamp
- Todd Bowles sends clear message about Baker Mayfield’s role with Bucs
- The Athletic is wrong about Bucs one ‘must-watch’ game in 2023
While New Orleans was one of the best teams in the league during the regular season, the past few weeks have shown some weaknesses for the Buccaneers to exploit. Drew Brees has not looked like himself throwing the ball, and the offense can only overcome the Buccaneer defense if Brees plays his best game in months.
In addition to the question marks surrounding Brees, New Orleans has potentially lost two of their safety nets to injury. While not vital parts on the offense, Taysom Hill and Latavius Murray could be unavailable today. There are arguments to be made that no Hill actually makes the Saints better, but these losses will hurt all the same.
The often-injured Drew Brees only has one backup now; former Buccaneer quarterback Jameis Winston. Winston has been a non-factor as the Saints’ third quarterback this season, but there is still a chance that he could see playoff action against his former team today.
If Brees takes one wrong hit, the Saints will not have their second starter to save the day. Some of Hill’s best games in his current role have been against the Bucs, but New Orleans won’t get the chance to rely on unconventional options today, even if Brees goes down with an injury.
Latavius Murray is a much smaller loss for the Saints, as Alvin Kamara is still playing at an extremely high level, but the Saints won’t even have the option to establish the ground game today. They can try with Kamara as the lone consistent back, but that could be a fruitless endeavor against the Buccaneer defense.
The Bucs would’ve loved to defeat the Saints at full strength today in their second playoff game of the year, but no one turns down the opportunity of this game getting slightly more manageable.
Want to write about the Bucs? Apply below!