New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Matchup Preview (9/13/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream
The Saints vs the Buccaneers is a relatively young rivalry that is about to go through its most intense period to date with the addition of Tom Brady to Tampa Bay’s roster. With Drew Brees versus Tom Brady, Michael Thomas versus Chris Godwin and Mike Evans, and Sean Payton versus Bruce Arians, we are in for a treat Week 1.
Date: Sunday, September 13th 2020
Time: 4:25 PM EST
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana
TV Coverage: FOX
Saints vs. Buccaneers Live Stream
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New Orleans Saints Analysis
The Saints head into another season coming off of playoff disappointment. While they have been having success after success in the regular season they now face a new challenge. A Tom Brady led team in the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Stopping all the weapons that Tom Brady has at his disposal will be a major part of the game plan for the Saints to pull out a victory.
When it comes to stopping Tom Brady the key is making him uncomfortable in the pocket. Cam Jordan and Marcus Davenport on the edge need to get pressure otherwise this could become an extremely long game for the Saints’ defense. Yes, the Saints have a good secondary, but there is not a single team that can cover Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski, O.J. Howard and account for the run game every single play. The way you eliminate all these weapons is getting in the backfield quickly and often.
On the offensive side of the ball, luckily for the Saints, Kamara has returned to practice and will not hold out. The running game has been a key to victory for the Saints in recent years with Drew Brees aging and declining in strength. He no longer has the threat of throwing over the top of the defense. The way that they keep other defenses honest is by having an incredible short passing and run game that can open up Michael Thomas in the intermediate route game.
Look to the Saints to do everything that they can to take shots either with intermediate routes or even having Taysom Hill enter the game to go long. The Bucs are weakest in their deep pass coverage and that is where the Saints would like to try to exploit them. It will be very interesting to see how Payton manufactures explosive plays.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Analysis
Tom Brady’s first game outside of a Patriots uniform in the NFL. It will be a crazy Week 1 to see Brady in any other colors; however, this also may be the largest set of offensive weapons Brady has ever had at his disposal. There is no doubt that Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are the best WR pair in the NFL. Gronk is out of retirement and the Buccaneers already had a great receiving threat in O.J. Howard at TE. Tampa Bay also targeted the offensive line in the draft grabbing Tristan Wirfs to help protect Brady. It is clear that this team is built all around the success of TB12.
The game inside the game that matters most in this matchup will be keeping Brady comfortable in the pocket. If the offensive line can win the battle against the scary front four of the Saints, then Tampa Bay has a good chance of winning this game. However, as it stands I peg the chances of that happening as very slim. What Bruce Arians does to keep Brady protected will be the most interesting factor in this coaching matchup.
On the defensive side of the ball, Tampa Bay has an extremely talented front 7. If they are able to shut down the run game and Kamara that may be enough to win this game. While Tampa’s secondary is lacking, to put it lightly, Brees is not as much of a downfield threat as he once was. There is only so much dinking and dunking he can do and if they are not getting production out of the backfield they will struggle to put up big numbers and hopefully fail to keep up with Brady.
Spread: Saints -3.5
Moneyline: Tampa Bay +165
I just cannot see Tom Brady having a good game here. While the weapons are there and Bruce Arians is a great coach, I think that the front four of the Saints is too much. Brady did not look great last year, especially under pressure. He will not be able to utilize the crazy downfield threats at his disposal and that is a huge issue. I think that the Saints’ defense wins them this game and the Bucs’ defense lets them down.
Prediction is the Saints taking this one 24-16
Michael Thomas while always a safe bet is way too expensive for my blood this week on almost all platforms. At $9,000 in DraftKings, there are much better ways to spend your money. I can easily see Emmanuel Sanders or Tre’Quan Smith having great games. While there is no doubt MT will have a good game, he would need a couple of touchdowns and 10 catches to make up for his price point. I would not buy him this week.
Chris Godwin, if you wanted to pick a Tampa Bay WR I would spend the extra $200 to grab Godwin over Evans. Godwin has a much better chance of being the go-to guy for Tom Brady because he can run elite short and intermediate routes that TB can reach. Evans has huge bust potential as he is more utilized downfield and with the pressure, the Saints can generate, Brady may not even be able to get those throws off.
Ronal Jones II, I think, is the best value at running back in this matchup. He has been getting loads of hype from Arians regarding his pass blocking and pass-catching improvements. Two things that Arians’ backs need to have in order to get playing time. With the defense focused on stopping Brady, Ronald Jones should have a productive game and could sneak in a touchdown or two.
Latavius Murray may be the other RB value in this game at $4,600 on DraftKings. He is a boom or bust play based off of him getting touchdowns or not. However, Kamara is still having issues with his contract and has not been getting as many 1st team reps as his coach probably would like. If there was a game that Murray would get a lot of carries and a bigger share of the workload it would be the first game of the season.