3 things WFT fans should watch for in Saints vs. Buccaneers SNF originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
Before last week, New Orleans hadn’t won a game since playing Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, is riding high on a four-game winning streak and hasn’t lost since visiting the Burgundy and Gold.
This one promises to be a thrilling SNF showdown. Here are three things to watch out for.
Race for the Bye
If you want the culmination of the full day of NFL action with an exciting race for a first-round bye in the postseason, you’re in for a Sunday Night Football treat.
Three teams are currently in the thick of it in the NFC playoff picture. The pressure will likely be fully on Tom Brady to keep pace for the No. 1 seed in the NFC by the time the Buccaneers take the field at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday night.
At 10-3, Tampa Bay is tied for first place with the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals – two teams with favorable Week 15 matchups. After Arizona plays the lowly Lions during the 1:00 window, the Packers will be taking on an injury-ravaged Baltimore squad most likely without Lamar Jackson. Then, the Saints come to the title holders for a rematch of their Week 7 NFC South tilt.
TB12 out for Revenge
With the league leaders in offensive yards per game are on, that alone makes for some exciting can’t-miss football. The Bucs are averaging an NFL-best 410.2 yards a game thanks to offensive playmakers like Chris Godwin, Antonio Brown, and Leonard Fournette. But with Brown suspended and Fournette listed as questionable, the Saints could have new life.
That won’t be the case if Brady replicates his performance against the Saints from earlier this season. Brady threw a scary stat line of four touchdowns for 375 yards, but two costly interceptions, on Halloween to end up on the wrong side of the scoreboard. With New Orleans putting a halt to its five-game losing streak last time out against the Jets, the added confidence will be key against what’ll surely be a vengeful Brady.
Near Full Health
While the professional sports landscape was ravaged with positive tests and an increased spread of COVID-19 this week, these two teams weren’t hit too bad. The big headline of the week came on the Saints side as head coach Sean Payton, won’t be on the sidelines after testing positive this week. It’s a massive blow for the chances of a New Orleans upset. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will assume HC responsibilities.
On the other sideline the Buccaneers were only hit with wide receiver Breshad Perriman a day before kickoff. A week after Perriman’s only catch turned out to be the game-winner against the Bills, Tampa Bay will now probably have to turn to Scotty Miller to fill the void.