The New Orleans Saints host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in New Orleans’ first NFC South matchup of the season. The Saints are 2-0 in the two games since Drew Brees’ thumb surgery, and while Teddy Bridgewater has been far from stellar, he has won his starts, and that's the most you can ask a backup quarterback to do. While the “tough” part of the schedule may be over, according to some, it is often divisional play that is the toughest competition that a team can face.
Tampa is right on New Orleans’ heels after their shocking Week 4 win in LA, and a win over the Saints this Sunday puts the Bucs in first place in the NFC South. Simply put, the Saints can't have that. The Saints must accept responsibility for their standing in the division and can't have someone take that standing away, even temporarily. The buck stops here, and the Bucs will be stopped here, in the Superdome this Sunday.
Last week I went 8-7
I told you so: Saints over Cowboys!!
What do I know: Rams over Bucs?
Thursday, October 3rd - Thursday Night Football
Rams(3-1) at Seahawks(3-1)
Los Angeles is coming off a brutal home loss to Tampa, while Seattle course-corrected from their home loss to New Orleans. Both teams know a loss here puts them in a very tough position with San Francisco currently standing undefeated. The winner keeps pace while the loser falls in a serious hole. Los Angeles has had Seattle’s number in recent matchups and that continues here. Los Angeles wins 35-31.
Sunday, October 6th - Early Games
Jaguars(2-2) at Panthers(2-2)
Both quarterbacks will have success in this battle of the backups, but the key to this game will be Carolina’s defense shutting down the Jacksonville running game. Carolina wins 24-20.
Patriots(4-0) at Redskins(0-4)
The best Washington can hope for is a good pregame meal, because its all downhill from there. New England wins 35-3.
Bills(3-1) at Titans(2-2)
All Matt Barkley has to do is hand the ball off and lean on his defense, and it should be just barely enough in Tennessee. Buffalo wins 21-20.
Ravens(2-2) at Steelers(1-3)
After a severely disappointing beating last week, Baltimore will rebound behind big games from Lamar Jackson and Mark Ingram, beating their longtime rivals in Pittsburgh. Baltimore wins 21-19.
Cardinals(0-3-1) at Bengals(0-4)
With no wins between these teams, there isn't much to look forward to. Andy Dalton will certainly have success against the porous Arizona defense, but the Cards will make the plays they need to seal the win in the end. Arizona wins 27-25.
Falcons(1-3) at Texans(2-2)
Houston has certainly struggled to hit their stride this season but they’ll finally get a win over an NFC South opponent by beating the lowly Falcons. Houston wins 29-19.
Vikings(2-2) at Giants(2-2)
Minnesota absolutely has to find a way to get their passing game going this season and they’ll do just that against this Giants defense, going vertical early and often to their disgruntled receivers. Minnesota wins 27-17.
Bears(3-1) at* Raiders(3-1) Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - London, England
Oakland will keep things close for a while until Chicago’s defense finally gets the offensive support they need from former Super Bowl champion and professional high-fiver, Chase Daniel, who has a solid second half. Chicago wins 23-17.
Jets(0-3) at Eagles(2-2)
Philly’s defense will hone in on and shut down the Jets’ rushing attack, effectively ending the game. Philadelphia wins 20-6.
Buccaneers(2-2) at Saints(3-1)
The Saints may not have Drew Brees under center but they continue to win. The winning has come on the backs of the Saints’ defense and special teams units, and that may need to continue here. Much like we’ve seen over the past two weeks, the Saints will need to lean heavily on Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas to have success on offense. While they will be up to the occasion, so will Tampa’s top target, WR Mike Evans. The Saints secondary, particularly Marshon Lattimore, will need to slow him down in order to secure this victory,
While it remains to be seen if this is or not “your daddy’s Bucs”, this year’s Buccaneers have one thing Tampa has not had in many years, seemingly competent coaching. Sean Payton will not be countered by Dirk Koetter and Mike Smith this week, instead the former Arizona duo of Bruce Arians and Todd Bowles lead this current iteration of the Bucs into the Superdome. While that staff has changed, the one thing that remains consistent is that the Saints are the better team, and despite this, the Bucs will still play them tough. Saints win 27-23.
Sunday, October 6th - Late Games
Broncos(0-4) at Chargers(2-2)
Phillip Rivers and the LA passing attack will make things difficult for Denver at Mile High. Los Angeles wins 23-16.
Packers(3-1) at Cowboys(3-1) - Game of the Week
Dallas crashed straight into a stellar defensive effort from the Saints last week, rendering their high scoring offense completely ineffective. Green Bay doesn't have that defense, so expect to see Dallas look more like they did before New Orleans, against a Green Bay defense that let the Philly passing game get back on track last week.
Points will be scored in this game, and both offenses will force big plays downfield. Ultimately, Green Bay will be ineffective in running the ball against Dallas, forcing Aaron Rodgers’ hand, and while that hand is skilled, a mistake can be made, like last week, and that mistake will cost the Pack the game. Dallas wins 36-31.
Sunday Night Football
Colts(2-2) at Chiefs(4-0)
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense will do what they always do, absolutely light it up through the air while hoping for the slightest bit of competency from their defense. Indy will be lapped pretty early by Kansas City in this one. Kansas City wins 32-12.
Monday, October 7th - Monday Night Football
Browns(2-2) at 49ers(3-0)
This will be a very tight contest in the Bay, and it will come down to a late interception costing the Niners the game, handing them their first loss of the season. Cleveland wins 21-19.
There we go, Week 5 is shaping up to be pretty interesting. Leave us your picks, comments, and insight below!