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2020 Divisional Round: (5) Tampa Bay Buccaneers at (2) New Orleans Saints


Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs New Orleans Saints  

45 members have voted

  1. 1. Who wins?

    • Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    • New Orleans Saints

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  • Poll closed on 01/17/2021 at 08:05 PM

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Probably the two most “well-rounded” teams in the playoffs. Although don’t confuse that with “best”. Both have a Top 6 Offense and Defense according to DVOA.

Should be a smash-mouth football game, and I’m expecting both defenses to step up here. Divisional Rivals, physical, intense type game. 

I’m on record saying I think Buccaneers win the entire thing unless they have to face New Orleans at some point. This team is just their kryptonite, and defeats Tampa in the trenches. 
 

I’ll be rooting for Tampa but I think New Orleans takes this one 27-22 Final. 

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At some point, Brady, Arians and the Bucs have to get their **** together against this one opponent, right? They're too good to get flummoxed by the Saints three times in one season, right?

 

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Just now, Starless said:

At some point, Brady, Arians and the Bucs have to get their **** together against this one opponent, right? They're too good to get flummoxed by the Saints three times in one season, right?

 

I don’t see any way it can be three blowouts in a row. I think it’ll be close. But I think New Orleans takes it again. There is just nothing about this matchup that says the Bucs win.. but I really hope I’m wrong and will be cheering the Bucs 100%. 

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If TAM wins this one, it's living proof on how hard it is for 1 team to beat another 3x in the same year.

Because as much as I'd love to see TAM win, NO is a nightmare matchup for TAM.

For NO's O: 

-Their OL negates the pass rush, which is the key weapon to protecting their coverage.   When TAM can't generate pressure, their CB's get exposed.     TAM then is forced to go into zone coverage.  

-Michael Thomas is a zone killer.   That's where the combo of no pressure really hurts TAM's D.

-Their RB tandem keeps them fresh, and Kamara's pass receiving prowess, combined with Thomas, allows them to use the pass game as a run game proxy.   That takes away TAM's key ability to stuff the run, and then make teams so one-dimensional.   

Those 3 reasons are why NO just ran roughshod over TAM last game.    Not much has changed since that time.     

On the D side, NO does 3 things at such a high level that take away TB's biggest assets:

- They're just as good as TAM at stuffing the run.  

- They can generate inside pressure, and Demario Davis is a nightmare problem for them, they can't account for him (or the CB/S blitz NO drew up).    

-Lattimore negates Evans, which then makes it the Godwin/AB show.     TAM's lack of a true safety valve RB really hurts them - there's no James White to lean on.    There's no coincidence why Godwin does so well in NO games - because he gets the best matchup.   But if TB12 doesn't have time, it limits Godwin's (& AB's) ability to make big plays.    And it puts a ton of pressure to sustain drives that way.

________________________________________

Having said that, there's a path, albeit one where a lot of things have to go right for TB.   The  key to victory lies in 3 key areas, where they've not had success so far:

-Can TAM D find a way to generate pressure?   If they can't, I don't see how they can cover NO's WR's with their CB's.   A big help would come with Devin White being healthy - one wrinkle he added over the past 2 months is the read-delay blitz.   I think TAM will need something fresh like that, to overcome the NO OL.   Doing more of the same won't work

-Can the TAM OL find a way to protect Brady?  Now, the last game vs. NO - they were without their best OL, Ali Marpet.    That was a crushing loss.   So that should help.   But make no mistake, Brady can't deal with sustained pressure.     One other difference on O - AB was just getting integrated into the O.  He *might* be the safety valve Brady can use in this game.  But it's an "if", not a given.

-Can they win the TO game?   They certainly can't lose it, like they did in the 2nd game.    

The main equalizer IMO for TAM is that they likely get a fully healthy team back (assuming Evans came out of last game ok, a grade 1 MCL is far better on week 2 than week 1).     Marpet in the OL, and White back, would be huge.     And TAM certainly has a ton of film on what NO does, to come out with counters.   But NO deserves to be the favorite, and not because of HFA (which this year, is completely overrated).   That familiarity is why winning 3x is so hard. But man, it's still hard not to like NO straight up.

It sucks in a lot of ways, because I think NO & TAM are the 2 most complete teams left in the NFC (LAR D gets mad love, and Akers is legit, but man, that's a vulnerable pass O, while GB's D is IMO by far the weakest unit left of the 8 teams remaining - suspect run D, and a lot of trouble in pass rush).    

 

Edited by Broncofan
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31 minutes ago, Broncofan said:


The main equalizer IMO for TAM is that they likely get a fully healthy team back

 

Wish that was the case, Evans should be 100% and white is coming back but not sure about Ronald Jones didnt play because of a quad injury but they are optimistic that he will play,. Lost our RG in last weeks game and wont play this next week, JPP is kinda banged up and our backup LB just got put on the covid list. So its gonna be a tough one for sure

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3 minutes ago, djw4bucs said:

Wish that was the case, Evans should be 100% and white is coming back but not sure about Ronald Jones didnt play because of a quad injury but they are optimistic that he will play,. Lost our RG in last weeks game and wont play this next week, JPP is kinda banged up and our backup LB just got put on the covid list. So its gonna be a tough one for sure

Forgot about Jones.  The RG and him being out are huge. 

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