The New Orleans Saints are set to face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with the unfortunate assignment of trying to do what no team has ever done in NFL history: beat Tom Brady three times in a single season.
Before this season, no team had ever beaten Brady two times in the regular season, so the Saints have already shown they have an ability to make history.
But here are the biggest questions I have for the team heading into Sunday’s game:
1. Will we see Trey Hendrickson? The New Orleans Saints pass rush practically destroyed Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay offensive line the last time these two teams met. In one series alone, Trey Hendrickson sacked Brady three consecutive times (with one sack not counting due to a defensive penalty). While Marcus Davenport was a better matchup on the defensive line against a mobile quarterback like Trubisky, it’s Trey Hendrickson’s ability to pin his ears back and attack the quarterback that matches up best against Tom-pa Bay.
2. Will the Bucs learn? The Tampa Bay Buccaneers chose not to shift to a man-coverage defensive scheme the second time these two teams met and instead chose to stick with soft zones, and Drew Brees and the Saints tore them to shreds. If the Bucs want any shot of winning the third game between these two teams, they will have to do something to change things up, because what they’ve done the first two times clearly didn’t work.
3. Will CJGJ get punched again? I’m only half-joking here. CJ Gardner-Johnson has already shown an ability to get under opposing wide receivers’ skins, and the Bucs have a pair of receivers in Mike Evans and Antonio Brown who have shown an ability to let their emotions get the better of them. Watching the trash talk from “Ceedy Deuce” will be absolutely fascinating.
4. How’s Taysom Hill? Taysom seemed to get dinged up a little in last week’s win against the Chicago Bears, and while his fumbles are obviously an issue (understatement), his presence greatly helps the Saints in the redzone. If Taysom is unable to be used to the fullest extent he would be otherwise, it’s a definite loss for the team.
5. Can we trust Lutz? Wil Lutz missed an early extra point in Week 17 against the Carolina Panthers, and then missed a makeable field goal last week against the Bears. The Saints have signed kicker Blair Walsh to the practice squad, but he’s been historically even less reliable. There was a period where the Saints trotting out Lutz was considered automatic, and we need to get back to that point sooner rather than later.
So those are the things I’m looking at in the game. What about you? What are you looking at specifically in this game? Something different? Tell me in the comments. Send me presents. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, on Instagram at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, follow us on Instagram at @SaintsCSC and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel.