We’ll continue a series of opponent preview posts for the New Orleans Saints opponents in 2018. Next up, another division rival, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Gil Arcia of Bucs Nation took some time to give us Saints fans the scoop on our up-and-coming NFC South rival.
Week 1: vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Week 14 @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
What were the biggest additions and/or subtractions (not via the draft) to the team’s roster from last year?
The biggest addition to team is obviously the acquisition of defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul. The team struggled mightily on the defensive side of he ball so the trade for JPP was perhaps the best move by the organization in recent history.
What was the biggest surprise move the team made - or didn’t make - this offseason?
The biggest surprise move would have to be drafting defensive tackle Vita Vea. The team made many improvements along the defensive line (adding JPP, Vinny Curry, etc.) that the team should have gone the direction of drafting safety Derwin James instead.
What is the biggest storyline heading into Week 1?
The biggest storyline would be how the defense plays against Brees and the Saints offense. Much of the talk will be about Winston missing his first game of a three-game suspension, but reality is this defense has let them down too much in the past few years. Week 1 versus New Orleans will be a great test for them.
What is the outlook for the team? Are the playoffs in sight?
I’d like to say that the playoffs are in sight. They are filled with talent and it appears like the coaches have acknowledged their issues from a year ago. If they can put the players in position to succeed, the playoffs are a possibility.
Final answer: what’s your prediction for the team’s final record?
I am on record saying 11-5. Much of that is because of an improved defense and it all boils down to how well that unit plays.
A big thanks to Gil for taking the time to answer our questions. Make sure you check out his work and the rest of the good folks at Bucs Nation for tons of Bucs content, including a great piece where he interviewed the local beat writer. You can follow Gil on Twitter @GilArciaBUCS, Bucs Nation @Bucs_Nation, and of course you can always follow me @dunnellz.
So what says you, you unbiased Saints fans? Do the Saints sweep the divisional series? Do they get swept themselves? Or maybe it’s the typical season split - but will the win came at home or on the road? Vote in the poll. Explain in the comments. And make sure you also check out DraftDividends.com, a website for a new book I’m writing currently titled Draft Picks and Dividends: A Fantasy Football Player’s Guide to Understanding the Stock Market.
How will the Saints fare in the season series against the Buccaneers?
This poll is closed
They’ll sweep the Bucs outta the division.
They’ll get swept in another disappointment.
They’ll win at home, but lose on the road.
They’ll lose at home, but win on the road.