Buccaneers vs. Saints: NFL Divisional Round odds, preview, and pick
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are back in the NFL's Divisional Round for the first time since the 2002 season, after defeating the Washington Football Team 31-23 on Saturday.
They'll face the Saints, who made light work of the Chicago Bears on Sunday. This will be New Orlean's third Divisional Round appearance in the past four years.
Here is our preview of Buccaneers vs. Saints.
Sun, January 17 2021, 11:40 PM
"Tompa Bay" is looking for revenge
The Buccaneers were outscored 72-26 in two bad losses to the Saints this season. Tom Brady only managed 448 passing yards with two touchdowns and five interceptions in the two games.
However, both of those outings were early in the season. Since Week 13, Brady has averaged 342.8 passing yards per game to go along with 14 touchdowns and just one interception.
The midseason additions of Leonard Fournette and Antonio Brown have made massive differences. Brown has averaged 5.4 catches for 72.8 yards and five touchdowns in his last five games. Fournette, meanwhile, had 19 carries for 93 yards and a touchdown in Ronald Jones’ absence after an early injury in the Wild Card game.
Saints win with defense
When you think of the Saints, you typically think of Drew Brees and that potent offense. However, the Saints' defense has been one of the best all season.
In Sunday’s Wild Card game against the Bears, New Orleans held Chicago to just 239 total yards (191 rushing, 48 passing). Those numbers would have been even better had they not allowed 99 yards on the last drive of the game in the final three minutes of a blowout. For 57 of the 60 minutes, the Saints' defense only allowed 140 total yards and three points. They are scary good.
Who will win Sunday Night NFC Divisional Round matchup?
Defense wins in the playoffs
The Saints have won five consecutive matchups against the Buccaneers. They have also only allowed an average of 16.2 points per game in those five games. The Saints' defense will be looking to get after Brady as they sacked him three times in each of the two previous games this season.
The Buccaneers have a good defense as well, but they have been susceptible to giving up big plays. The Saints averaged 36 points per game in their two matchups this season. They also allowed 23 points to the Taylor Heinicke-led Washington Football Team.
It's always difficult to defeat a team three times in a season, but the Saints were the last team to do so in 2017, when they beat the Carolina Panthers in all three of their outings. The Saints' combination of offensive weapons and shutdown defense will pave their way to the NFC Championship Game.