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Buccaneers game day is approaching, and it’s time for the PewterReport.com staff to offer up its weekly game predictions. Let us know what you think in the article comments section and add your prediction, too.

WHEN: Sunday, November 8, 2020
KICKOFF: 8:20 p.m. ET
WHERE: Raymond James Stadium
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Al Michaels
ANALYSTS: CrisCollinsworth
SIDELINE: Michele Tafoya
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gene Deckerhoff
ANALYST: Dave Moore
Spanish Radio: 96.1 FM
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Carlos Bohorquez
ANALYST: Martin Gramatica

Join PR’s Matt Matera on PewterReport.com’s Red Board to talk Bucs football for a live game day chat, starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday evening all the way through to the final whistle. Click here to access the thread and join in the discussion. 

Scott Reynolds: Bucs Get A Win In Prime Time (Finally)

At some point in time the Buccaneers need to rise up and win a big game in prime time. I’m not talking about squeaking by the Giants on Monday Night Football. I mean beating a team like three-time NFC South defending champion New Orleans on Sunday Night Football on NBC. After all, the NFL playoffs – and the Super Bowl – are played in prime time before a nationally televised audience. So sooner or later Tampa Bay is going to have to show up and show out in prime time if they want to get ready for a playoff push. There’s no better time than Sunday night at home against a hated divisional rival.

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett and Saints QB Drew Brees

Bucs OLB Shaquil Barrett and Saints QB Drew Brees – Photo by: USA Today

The team with the better pass rush wins this game. Tampa Bay is second in the league in sacks with 28 this season, but the Bucs only got to Drew Brees just once in Week 1 whereas Tom Brady was sacked three times. Left tackle Donovan Smith, who struggled mightily in New Orleans in the season opener, needs to continue his solid play to keep Tom Brady upright. Joe Haeg will fill in at left guard for Ali Marpet and that’s worth keeping an eye on as the Saints have 19 sacks this season.

Smith is one of my 4 Match-ups To Watch and you can read that here, and for more Bucs vs. Saints preview check out my SR’s Fab 5 column by clicking here. Tampa Bay gets a big win on Sunday Night Football to take a two-game lead in the division.

Reynolds’ Score Prediction: Buccaneers 37, Saints 30
Reynolds’ Season Record: 6-2

Mark Cook: Succop FG Beats Saints – In South End Zone

To be the best you have to beat the best. Well for the last two seasons and the last four match-ups between the two teams, the Saints have been the best and it really hasn’t even been close. The Saints are on a four-game winning streak over Tampa Bay, with the Bucs last win in the series coming with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm back in 2018.

Saints QB Taysom Hill

Saints QB Taysom Hill – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

This is a tough match-up for the Bucs as the Saints have a physical front four. Tampa Bay’s offensive line struggled against the Saints in Week 1 allowing three sacks and a number of pressures, and also struggled against another dominant front in the Bears on Thursday night last month. The good news is the Bucs offensive line is better than the one we saw to open the season and they know exactly what they are getting with Marcus Davenport, Cam Jordan, Trey Hendrickson and David Onyemata. Things will be tougher for the group however, as the Bucs announced late Friday that guard Ali Marpet is out for Sunday’s game with a concussion.

I expect this game to be a back-and-forth affair with the obvious affecting the outcome – turnovers and penalties. The team with the least mistakes should win the game, and I believe the Bucs have the talent and want-to to send the Saints packing with a loss and an announcement to the rest of the league there is a changing of the guard in the NFC South.

Cook’s Score Prediction: Buccaneers 31, Saints 30
Cook’s Season Record: 5-3

Jon Ledyard: Can Bucs Shake Prime Time Woes?

The Bucs worst three performances of the season have come as a nationally broadcast team, in Week 1 against the Saints, Week 5 against the Bears and Week 8 against the Giants. Is there something to playing in the spotlight that this team isn’t ready for?

Maybe, but the bigger concern is the way Tampa Bay has struggled against the Saints in the past, as Todd Bowles has come up empty in three meetings against New Orleans as the Bucs defensive coordinator, surrendering 31 points or more in each contest. The key will be rolling up his cornerbacks and playing a more physical brand of football on the Saints’ receivers. Force Drew Brees to throw the ball down the field and eliminate separation from underneath pass-catchers, and the Bucs defense will finally be able to shut down the Saints’ death-by-a-thousand-cuts offense.

Easier said than done, however, as is continuing a streak of nearly mistake-free football games that has kept the Bucs on the winning track. The Saints are the ultimate example of a team that simply doesn’t beat themselves and plays efficient, high percentage football with an offensive scheme that is tough to prepare for. Is the Bucs defense finally ready to rise up and stop Sean Payton’s offensive attack? I think the Bucs offense will put up points, but I’m worried about the direction Bowles’ group has been trending over the past few weeks.

Ledyard’s Score Prediction: Saints 33, Bucs 27
Ledyard’s Season Record: 7-1

Matt Matera: Bucs Learn From Week 1 Mistakes To Narrowly Win

The Saints are the one team that the Bucs just can’t seem to figure out recently having dropped four straight games to New Orleans, including the last three with Bruce Arians as head coach. After Monday night’s narrow victory over the one-win Giants, you might think that trend continues when the Saints come to Tampa on Sunday night, but that may not necessarily be the case.

While 5-2 on the season, New Orleans hasn’t made things look easy for themselves. They had their own close call defeating the Bears in overtime a week ago, and as the Bucs went on to dismantle mutual opponents in the Packers and Raiders, the Saints lost to both. It’s a week-to-week league so I’m not going to put all my stock into uninspiring victories on each side.

It’s tough to gage how much Antonio Brown will impact the Bucs’ offense in his first week here, but the fact that Chris Godwin is back is super important for the offense. The offense just flows so much better when he’s in there. Michael Thomas looks to be back as well for the Saints, but Carlton Davis III shut him down in Week 1 and he’ll do so again. The key for the Bucs’ in this second match-up? Don’t turn it over. If they do that, they’ll win by a narrow margin.

Matera’s Score Prediction: Bucs 24, Saints 23
Matera’s Season Record: 6-2

Taylor Jenkins: Bucs Get Their Revenge

We’ve come a long way since the Saints beat down the Bucs in Week 1. Tampa Bay currently carries the league’s fourth-best scoring offense and the league’s seventh-best scoring defense while New Orleans ranks seventh and 23rd in those fields, respectively. As far as total DVOA, the Bucs have the top mark in the league while the the Saints sit seventh.

Now of course games aren’t played on spreadsheets, they’re played on the football field where Tampa Bay has looked far better this season, even since Week 1. While the Bucs stumbled against Chicago on Thursday Night Football last month and had a scare against the Giants this past Monday, they had absolutely dominant victories over the Raiders and previously undefeated Packers in between. The Saints on the other hand, despite still being 5-2, have losses to those same Packers and Raiders while pulling out one-score victories against the Chargers, Bears, Panthers and Lions. In fact, the Saints only victory that’s come by more than six points this year came against the Bucs.

NFC South games are always battles and this one likely won’t prove any different. The Saints’ secondary has been a thorn in New Orleans’ side this season, but they still have an immensely talented roster that includes an all-time great quarterback in Drew Brees, a Pro Bowl running back in Alvin Kamara and an All-Pro receiver in Michael Thomas on the mend, all led by Sean Payton. To put it simply, I see Tampa Bay as the better team in this match-up, but they’ll have to be at their best to knock off a New Orleans team that has won the last three divisional titles and their last four meetings with the Bucs.

Jenkins’ Score Prediction: Bucs 34, Saints 29
Jenkins’ Season Record: 6-2

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About the Author: Mark Cook

Mark Cook currently is the director of editorial content and Bucs beat writer and has written for PewterReport.com since 2011. Cook has followed the Buccaneers since 1977 when he first began watching football with his Dad and is fond of the 1979 Bucs team that came within 10 points of going to a Super Bowl. His favorite Bucs game is still the 1979 divisional playoff win 24-17 over the Eagles. In his spare time Cook enjoys playing guitar, fishing, the beach and family time.Cook is a native of Pinecrest in Eastern Hillsborough County and has written for numerous publications including the Tampa Tribune, In the Field and Ya'll Magazine. Cook can be reached at mark@pewterreport.com
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10 months ago

Will Winston get on the field on Sunday with Drew Brees’s shoulder injury?

Will weather matter?

Will Ali Marpet’s absense put Brady under fire?

Will Antonio Brown make an immediate impact? Is Godwin healthy? Will Mike Evans be a real factor? Will RoJo continue making mistakes that bench him?

Bucs 31
Saints 30

Sombrero 7-1
Sombrero ATS 6-2

10 months ago

Can we get a prediction on how many of us are going to be watching the game on mute ? Collingsworth and Micheal’s are terrible play by play announcers.

Reply to  tman_1006
10 months ago

Collinsworth : “Tight ends are like cute baby blankets for QBs”
Michaels : “Do you mean security blankets?”
Collinsworth : “That’s hilarious! I mean, what is a security blanket?? A blanket that provides you security? That doesn’t make any sense Al. I’m sticking with baby blankets.”

Reply to  tman_1006
10 months ago

“Here’s a guy ….”

Makes for a great drinking game if you leave the sound on.

10 months ago

Kind of not happy the one with the best record is going against the Bucs.

It wasn’t Bowles defense that lost the last game. It was stupid mistakes the Bucs made because they had no chemistry as a team.

I’ll be at this game so I’m really excited to hopefully see my team win and take the Division crown.

Last edited 10 months ago by cptsora
10 months ago

This is a defining moment for our Bucs. Brees or Marpet out? Makes no difference. As the great Lombardi once said, Winning is all that matters. Everything else is BS!
There is no way we can say we are the best team in the NFL South going down 0-2 to the Ain’ts. Another notable columnist in TB, the Sage as they call him says we are the best team this yeAR.. OK..time to prove it buddy. No excuses. To be the best you gotta beat the best. Ruck up Bucs. I got my Popcorn ready.

10 months ago

I think this will be a squeaker. Saints 28-26

10 months ago

Donavan Smith, continue his solid play……? Not without getting double team help.

10 months ago

Ledyard doesn’t think the Bucs have it. He thinks they are good, not great. If you pick the Bucs to lose the biggest game of the season then you basically admit you are taking the L on the season as a whole.

Reply to  PatrioticChief
10 months ago

How would that mean you’d be taking an L on the season as a whole if you predict them to lose this game. Even with a loss, you do realize they can still easily win the division, have the top overall seed, and go to the SB. Kind of a strange comment

Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

He is saying to be the best you have to beat the best. We’ve already lost one to the Saints, and losing another is an admission that the Bucs aren’t the best.

Doesn’t mean that’s the end of the season. But it’s definitely a black mark.

Reply to  Naplesfan
10 months ago

Well yeah of course we want to beat the Saints. That’s a given. But even if we lost this game, we could still very easily win the division and then beat the Saints in the playoffs. If we lost, to me, it would matter how we lost. If we lost a very hard fought close game, I wouldn’t call it the end of the season. If we came out and look like we did week 1, that would have me concerned. But the Saints are getting fully healthy at the right time, and we’re without our best OLineman, and our… Read more »

Reply to  Dave
10 months ago

It’s still early enough in the season so of course anything is possible, but if we drop 2 to the Aint’s then they hold the tie breaker over us more than likely in the Div and obviously head to head which means they will have an automatic game up on us to overcome AND we may have to play them in the playoffs (Captain Obvious moment I know). This game isn’t do or die but it will either mean a loss and we have a huge mountain to climb the rest of the season, or a win and we hold… Read more »

10 months ago

Ughh I have bad feeling about this game. I think the Marpet absence has the potential to be the biggest factor in this game. Pressure on Brady was the #1 factor in that week 1 loss. It’s also been one of the biggest factors in the great play of the offense since week 1. Without Marpet, and going up against a top tier DLine and run defense, I have a feeling we’re going to have to abandon the run and become one dimensional. Hard to lose a player of Marpets caliber, and it not effect the offense. If we can… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Dave
10 months ago

If Bucs are for real and want to win this division this year they cannot lose to the Aints at home on Sunday period! Huge game! They seem to have our number. They always shut Evans down. What is more concerning is how bad Smith struggles against this team. Hopefully he doesn’t regress and have one of his many “head scratcher” games. He seems to suck in big games and big moments. Long as Bucs play a clean game with penalties, protect Brady, don’t turn it over we win easy imo. All that said I’m taking Bucs 31-24.

10 months ago

The Saints are a good team, and they always give the Bucs the yips, it seems. They beat us in Week 1. But the Week 1 Bucs aren’t the Week 9 Bucs – the older version were more like a pre-season team, and now the offense and defense have both gelled quite a bit, particularly the offense with Tom Brady gaining a lot more comfort level with his offensive line and skill players than he had in Week 1. Injuries, of course, always play a part. With Marpet out that hurts … but with Thomas probably out – the guy… Read more »

Last edited 10 months ago by Naplesfan
Reply to  Naplesfan
10 months ago

Thomas got 17 yards before going out with an injury Week 1. I think what hurts the Aint’s the most is their lack of a downfield game and Brees shoulder hindering his game. If our Defense can be responsibly aggressive, not try to blitz too much and leave guys out to cover and force Brees to throw away or into mistakes I think we me away with 2 INTs and put them on their heels. Let’s pray Haeg or Shipley can at the very least hold their own. Giants did it with all kinds of Olinemen missing. Marpet gone will… Read more »

10 months ago

31 – 24, Bucs

10 months ago

In my view the Bucs dominated the Saints in Week-1. It was our own mistakes that gave the Saints the victory. In watching the Saints this year, it’s pretty obvious that Drew Brees is struggling to throw the ball past 20 yards. Have Devin White mirror Kamara and take that immediate option away and Brees will panic with JPP and Shaq breathing down his neck. Sure will miss VV in Brees’ face.

Captain Sly
Reply to  scubog
10 months ago

Devin White may be dynamic but in no way can he cover Kamara, That’s a win for Sean Peyton and Saints. Bucs will be in nickle package which means SMB or AWJ will be assigned Kamara.

Scot Wirth
10 months ago

Go Bucs! I just wanna know what genius came up with the Monday night game this week. The 2-5 Patriots vs the 0-8 Jets??? Gonna need a strong stomach to watch that one!

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