TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-5) VS. NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-2)
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 5TH, 1:00 P.M. ET
MERCEDES-BENZ DOME (73,000)
NETWORK TELEVISION: FOX
PLAY-BY-PLAY: THOM BRENNAMAN ANALYST: CHRIS SPIELMAN SIDELINE: JENNIFER HALE BUCS RADIO: 98ROCK, FLAGSHIP STATION (WXTB-97.9 FM)
PLAY-BY-PLAY: GENE DECKERHOFF ANALYST: DAVE MOORE SIDELINE: T.J. RIVES
LAST GAME: TAMPA BAY LOST VS. CAROLINA, 17-3; NEW ORLEANS WON VS. CHICAGO, 20-12

PewterReport.com Publisher And Bucs Beat Writer Scott Reynolds
As I outlined in my most recent SR’s Fab 5, I think the Bucs need to run the heck out of the ball in New Orleans to beat the Saints. That will help Tampa Bay’s suspect defense by keeping Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees on the sidelines. Will that happen? Will the Bucs offense be committed to run the ball against a defense that is surrendering 4.9 yards per carry? I don’t think so. I just don’t think head coach and offensive play-caller Dirk Koetter has the discipline to do so.

The more Jameis Winston is asked to drop back and throw the ball to try to take advantage of DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans being matched up in man coverage, the more he will be subjected to hits on his injured throwing shoulder. The artificial surface at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is hard an unforgiving, too. The temptation will be there to exploit the Saints cornerbacks in man coverage, especially rookie Marshon Lattimore, but that might not be wise for two reasons. The first is that Lattimore already has two interceptions and is quite good already. The second is that the Saints are a blitz happy football team and will bring linebackers and safeties to try to force quick throws. Having Winston drop back on five- and seven-step drops is playing right into defensive coordinator Dennis Allen’s hands.

Defensively, the Bucs need to play quarters in New Orleans to keep Ted Ginn, Jr., who is averaging 17.5 yards per catch and Michael Thomas in front of Tampa Bay’s defensive backs. New Orleans likes to run their receivers deep to open up the flats for screen passes to Alvin Kamara. Bucs linebackers Kwon Alexander, Lavonte David and Kendell Beckwith will have to be just as wary of Kamara and Mark Ingram catching the ball and getting screened to death in addition to running the ball. Tampa Bay cannot continue to give up 34 points per game on the road this year.

Tampa Bay needs to score early in order to have the running game remain a part of the game plan. The Bucs do not want to get into a shootout with Brees, especially in his house.

All eyes will be on Bucs kicker Pat Murray to see if he can continue his perfect string of field goals and extra points. He’s on a short leash because Tampa Bay continues to monitor the health of former Kansas City kicker Cairo Santos, who is close to returning from a leg injury and is a more talented kicker.
Reynolds’ Score Prediction: Saints Win 30-20
Reynolds’ Pick To Click: TE Cameron Brate

PewterReport.com editor & Bucs Beat Writer Mark Cook
We have said must win the last couple weeks and they were important, but this is absolutely a must win. No, a loss won’t mathematically eliminate the Bucs from the playoffs, but with six losses it would take the team winning the remaining games on their schedule to have a shot. So yes, if the Bucs want to keep any chance of a postseason berth alive, it must start on Sunday against the Saints.

The problem is they play the Saints. On the road. Who lead the division. And now have seemed to finally have found a defense. This doesn’t bode well for the Bucs. And add in the fact the Saints have this young up-and-coming quarterback by the name of Drew something or other that looks like he might pan out. Sorry about all the sarcasm. This disappointing Bucs team has me frustrating and crabby.

I suppose it is possible for this team to win on Sunday, but they will have to play a nearly perfect game and hope the Saints self-destruct somewhat. We saw this team do it last year at home, beating the Saints with a dominating defensive performance. But this is a better Saints team, and playing in the dome in New Orleans is never easy.

If Jameis Winston can play the whole game like he did in the second half against Buffalo that would be a formula to give this team a shot. It will have to be in a shootout in my opinion however, as despite the Bucs defense playing better last week in the loss to Carolina, we are talking Drew Brees and not Cam Newton. Giving Brees all day to throw is a recipe for disaster. The crafty veteran will carve them apart. Mike Smith needs to simplify things for his guys, and blitz to generate some pressure and hope the pressure gets there. If not, expect a long day on Sunday.
Cook’s Score Prediction: Saints Win 34-19
Cook’s Pick To Click: WR DeSean Jackson

PewterReport.com Beat Writer Trevor Sikkema
If two weeks ago wasn’t a “must win” up in Buffalo and if the week after at home against a division opponent wasn’t a “must win” versus Carolina, make no doubt about it, if the Buccaneers don’t win in New Orleans this week, their season is over – and you could see a landslide afterwards.

The Bucs picked a bad week to put themselves up against a wall to get a big win. The Bucs are going into a place that is one of the tougher home field advantages to play against in the Superdome, and even more unfortunate for them is the host team is on a hot streak.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees is having a great year. He isn’t blowing out the stat book like he has in the past with yards or touchdowns, but his efficiency this year is as good as it gets. He’s completing more than 70 percent of his passes on the year, has almost 2,000 yards passing already with 11 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Now that Adrian Peterson is no longer on the team – who was never a fit – the Saints running game is doing that they need to do for the game plan, and players like Alvin Kamara have flourished in it.

On the other side, the Saints started the year with the worst defense in the NFL two weeks in (also started 0-2 because of it). However, since then the team has gone on a five-game winning streak, and during that time they’ve been one of the best defenses in the league. A big reason for that is because of the play of rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore. For a long time the narrative around the Saints has been they can pass the ball themselves but struggle to stop other teams from passing on them. With Lattimore, they’ve widened that gap. Lattimore will likely spy Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans all game, and who wins that matchup could have a lot to say in where this game ends.

I believe Lattimore and Evans will have the key match up this week, but make no mistake, if the Bucs aren’t better in the trenches, on both sides of the ball than what we’ve seen in the past, it won’t matter, and the Saints will make it six wins in a row while the Bucs will extend their losing streak to five.
Sikkema’s Score Prediction: Saints win 31-17
Sikkema’s Pick to Click: Mike Evans

 

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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 [email protected]
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Bucnut2
Bucnut2
4 years ago

I’m going with the Bucs this week. I think they are due for a win. I won’t be surprised if they lose. This season, we have learned that we have a subpar coaching staff, suspect defensive talent, an overrated front offense and overrated QB. IMO, we need to 1- replace Licht. He built this roster over three years and by in large it is not very good. 2-replace this entire coaching staff. Bottom line- they don’t get this team easy to win and 3- draft a QB late rounds every year hoping we find the next Prescott. IMO- Winston is… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  Bucnut2
4 years ago

Predictable

Bucnut2
Bucnut2
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

yes. Predictably correct. The ONLY thing in my prior post that I am wrong on is the win prediction. everything else I said is spot on!

sunshineben
sunshineben
4 years ago

With all the weapons on the bucs ,Winston is rated way below the top qb”s drafted same year or following year..Can Winston become more accurate and not make so many bad decisions in the future or.. is he a local hero who is not good enough to win on the big stage? tick,tick!

skipper
skipper
4 years ago

I hear the have to run more talk. What we should be saying is we have to be more successful at running the ball to run more. 2nd and 9 or 3rd and 7 won’t get it. At times Martin runs well other time he has no place to run, if the Oline isn’t getting it done opening holes then expect Winston to throw a lot.

kingbucc239
kingbucc239
4 years ago

We gotta get better, I gotta get better. We gonna bounce back..

Mike.Seven
Mike.Seven
4 years ago

They have no choice, they have to establish a run Sunday, They need use, Doug Martin, more than in the past, There are 15 QB in NFL this year with more touchdowns than Winston, Statistics tell us they can not rely on JW to win a game, they need to place weight of game on Doug Martin.

Mike
Mike
Reply to  Mike.Seven
4 years ago

TD passes isn’t really a fair metric to compare, considering not all QBs have had their bye and Winston essentially missed an entire game.

Horse
Horse
4 years ago

Time for this team to show us what they got; coaches too!

Buc 1976
Buc 1976
Reply to  Horse
4 years ago

Agree Horse!
One thing I think would help the Bucs and J. Winston is to sign Hue Jackson as O. Coordinator if the Browns let him go which is IMO going to happen. Hue can be trusted to call the play’s and he is know as the QB whispers. We DO NOT need to fire Coach K just give him some respected help.

BrianDorry55
BrianDorry55
4 years ago

I know it’s hard to chart a course to victory in this game considering recent events…but at the end of the day, I believe this…

This Saints team isn’t good enough to win 6 games in a row.
This Bucs team isn’t bad enough to lose 5 games in a row.

That said, what we do best is find ways to lose…but I just have a feeling they show up with their backs against the wall and find a way to stay alive.

owlykat
owlykat
4 years ago

If you all remember back to my comments after our draft when most were giddy about “Genius” Licht’s picks, I warned that the GMs in all our other teams in our Division had better drafts than we did and I was concerned that would give them the upward hand over us in our Division, and now here we sit last in our Division. I have also pointed out how useless Glennon is ever since he was drafted but was rebuffed by the Glennon Mob here. Where are they now after they hoped he’d get his chance to start and show… Read more »

scubog
scubog
Reply to  owlykat
4 years ago

As I recall Owlykat, you pimped Tim Tebow nearly every post.

scubog
scubog
4 years ago

I can’t stand that smug ass Sean Peyton who has hung onto Brees’ coattails since he fell into his lap when the Dolphins hesitated to sign him. I’ve got a similar opinion as fellow poster Brian Dorry. I too don’t think the Saints are going undefeated the rest of the way. Nor do I think the Bucs will surpass the Browns for the top Draft pick. This season has been quite a surprise for most of us who saw the same signs of being a playoff contender. So what happened? The fragile psyche of the team went into the cesspool… Read more »

Horse
Horse
Reply to  scubog
4 years ago

Now that’s the Scubog we know; funny and we’ll said. LMAO! Good reading Scubog .

macabee
macabee
4 years ago

I love this time of year. The weather is cooling off and if I still lived in Indiana, the trees would be changing to those beautiful colors – summed up, It’s great football weather! This time of year, as a Buc fan, I again find myself in the precarious position of wishing/hoping my team can pull out a winning season. This year looks to be even more difficult. But I never pick against the Bucs and in the face of odds not in my favor, I always give us a chance. We did it last year, we can do it… Read more »

martinii
martinii
4 years ago

Once again I must applaud one of my favorite posters, Macabee, for the ease in which he introduces us to an all too familiar mid season dialogue framing another predictable Buc season. While I was fully enthused after our first win, and prior to the season my gut somehow warned me that even with the improvements made and undeniable maturity, not to mention a 9-7 2016, hype and Wins are precarious bedfellows. So here we are again facing a rejuvenated Saints team with our season on the line as we visit 2018 draft prospects. For many years I would argue… Read more »

buddah
buddah
4 years ago

All three homers going against the Buccaneers. That gives an edge to the Buccaneers. This will go down to the wire. Buccaneers 31-27.

Buc76
Buc76
4 years ago

You guys should not write the most impressive bucs anymore. This is a joke. Koetter and licht need to be fired now. This team may not win again this year. It’s over for Koetter and licht. Call Gruden now call derrick Brooks now to be the GM. This is worst I’ve seen in 40 years. Worse than the 80s. The drum beat needs to get louder until they are fired