The Buccaneers could be facing a Saints team this Sunday that doesn’t have Sean Payton.
There is no one on the Saints that is more important to team success than Sean Payton. As the quarterbacks, defenses, and other key players change over the year, no one has been more of a thorn in the side of the Buccaneers than Payton.
Under Payton, the Bucs have lost to all manner of quarterbacks, and the lack of a true starter on Sunday (Taysom Hill doesn’t count) is nothing for the Bucs to be confident about.
Payton has done far more with far less over the years, but it will be hard for him to influence the game much if he isn’t there.
The Saints confirmed earlier today that Payton is joining the massive list of NFL personnel that will be out on COVID protocols. It is almost surprising that it all hit so bad at the same time, but Tampa has been doing well in this regard so far.
The first hope should remain with Payton’s health. Fortunately, he is fully vaccinated.
On the football side of things, this will complicate matters substantially for the Saints. New Orleans still has a decent coaching staff, but trying to run the show without the director is a hard task to pull off.
The Saints won’t have their QB1 or their head coach that has forever changed the franchise, which puts an even larger level of pressure on the Bucs. Losing to a third-string quarterback earlier in the season was already hard to stomach, so the pressure on this game is only greater.
Regardless, the Bucs are heavy favorites right now, which should only improve in Tampa’s favor as the week goes on.
One way or another, the Buccaneers have no excuse to not take care of business this weekend against their bitter rivals.
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