The New Orleans Saints face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with an opportunity to win the NFC South title for a second consecutive season. This would also be the very first time the Saints have won back to back division titles, even going back to their NFC West days. Also on the line this week is a chance to answer back for the season-opening loss to the Bucs in the Superdome. With these motivations on the line, the Saints should have all the incentive they need to leave Tampa with a victory.
After getting punched in the gut a week ago in Dallas, the Saints now look to come up off the canvas, learn from their error, and start throwing their own crushing blows again. With four games to go and homefield advantage in the NFC within reach, the Saints look to take care of business, beginning in Tampa. Let’s take a look at all of the crucial matchups in the league this week as we enter the final stretch of the 2018 NFL season.
Last week I went 10-6
I told you so: Ravens over Falcons!
What do I know: Panthers over Bucs?
Thursday, December 6th - Thursday Night Football
Well, it can't get much worse than their 9-6 game earlier in the season. Titans sweep the Jags this season. Tennessee wins 20-13.
Sunday, December 9th - Early Games
The Jets’ offense has no chance in this one. Buffalo wins 28-19.
Mark Sanchez is likely going to wear a preemptive cast on his fibula in this game, just to be safe. The Giants have been better since their bye and they’ll find a way to win again in this one. Giants win 14-10.
Miami will try to control the game on the ground, to keep Brady off the field, but to no avail. New England wins 31-17.
The combination of Lamar Jackson’s skill and Baltimore’s defense will keep things close for a while, but Kansas City will prove too much for the Ravens to handle in the second half. Kansas City wins 35-24.
Houston has pulled away as the clear-cut class of the AFC South, and they’ll leave Indy in their wake at the end of this one. Houston wins 25-21.
Things have bottomed out in Green Bay so much that even the lowly Falcons will come into Lambeau and pass all over them. Atlanta wins 37-25.
Carolina grinds out an ugly win on the road in Cleveland. Carolina wins 20-16.
Saints(10-2) at Buccaneers(5-7)
The Saints and Bucs opened the 2018 NFL season in a way that has truly encapsulated the way football has gone this year, with plenty of points and hardly any defense to be seen. The Saints scored 40, yet came up short in the end. Now the chance to make amends for that loss is here, but it won't go the way that first game did.
Tampa and New Orleans have had some high-scoring affairs over the years, but the majority of those fast-paced games have taken place in the Superdome. The games these two teams have had in Tampa in recent years have been much lower-scoring games. Expect far fewer combined points in this game compared to that contest back in September. This may not be a vintage 2018 Saints offensive performance, but it’ll be much better than we saw last week.
The Saints will do something this franchise has never done before, they will repeat as division champions, in what will hopefully be the first of more championships to come this season. Saints win 24-21.
Sunday, December 9th - Late Games
The team that controls the game on the ground will be the team that wins this game. That team will be the Broncos. Denver wins 24-20.
Los Angeles picked up their biggest win of the season in Pittsburgh last Sunday Night. That huge comeback will carry a lot of momentum with it. The Chargers will be surging with confidence as they’ll smash Cincy at home this week. Los Angeles wins 27-7.
Arizona’s defense will capitalize on Detroit’s mistakes here at home, as they surprisingly win consecutive games. Arizona wins 26-19.
Pittsburgh will be a little shellshocked from their collapse against Los Angeles last Sunday Night, and they’ll find themselves surprisingly struggling in Oakland. The Steelers will put away the Silver and Black in the end. Pittsburgh wins 30-27.
Dallas had the defensive performance of the 2018 NFL season a week ago, fueled by unbridled emotion and inspired play. It was the type of emotion and inspiration that is nearly impossible to duplicate. The Cowboys were primed and ready to prove their doubters wrong, but now they must come back down to divisional play against a rival, in Philadelphia, who is inspired themselves since falling to Dallas nearly a month ago.
Everything says this will be a defensive slugfest, especially after seeing Dallas’ defense soar in front of a national audience a week ago, but don't be shocked when this game goes in the opposite direction. This defensive showdown will end up being an offensive affair that will come down to the final possession. Dallas holds the lead late, but Philly steals the win in the end. Philadelphia wins 31-30.
Sunday Night Football
Offensively, Los Angeles is one of the most dangerous teams in the league, and Chicago would have a tough time keeping up with them if it became a high-score contest like the Rams had against Kansas City and New Orleans. Getting Mitchell Trubisky back will be key for the Bears, but protecting him from Aaron Donald will be paramount.
Defensively, Chicago has one primary mission to accomplish, slow down Todd Gurley and the Rams’ top-five rushing attack, which they are suited to do. Bears All-Pro linebacker Khalil Mack will be charged with making things difficult for the dynamic Rams offense. Mack and his “Monsters of the Midway” represent arguably the best defense Los Angeles has faced all season.
The combination of Chicago’s tenacious defense and a raucous home crowd in frigid Chicago will help carry the Bears to a pivotal primetime victory in Soldier Field. Chicago wins 27-21.
Monday, December 10th - Monday Night Football
Seattle will control the clock and surprisingly dominate the time of possession against Minnesota. It’ll be a vintage performance by Seattle at home against a Vikings team that suddenly has a lot to worry about. Seattle wins 24-17.
There it is, Week 14 of the NFL season. The Saints have a chance to move past one loss by avenging another, while winning the NFC South title in the process! Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!