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New Orleans Saints Win over Buccaneers Give Playoff Hope

Overreactions to the Saints stunning upset of the Buccaneers from Week 15

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints defense stood tall over Tom Brady all game
Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints defense dominated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in primetime on Sunday. In a game where the Saints were double-digit underdogs, the Saints showed that they can still play high-level games when needed. This game showed that the Saints defense, when healthy, can still win games. Unfortunately, the offense is still sputtering in different ways. This team will need to invent ways to score the rest of the way. With easier games upcoming, the Saints have put themselves into playoff contention once again. These are overreactions to the Saints upset of the Buccaneers on Sunday Night Football for Week 15.

Playoffs?

Are we talking about playoffs? Sitting at 7-7 in a weak NFC, yes, the Saints are in playoff contention. If the season ended today, the Saints would be the seventh seed and have to face the Dallas Cowboys in the first round. With three games remaining, the Saints are in control of their own fate. Nine wins likely secures a playoff berth in the NFC but winning 10 is almost a sure thing. Just a couple of weeks ago, the Saints playoff chances were bleak, at best. But now, the Saints upset the Buccaneers and look at home games the next two weeks. Playoffs? It seems it is now to begin planning for the playoffs.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Saints defense forced two turnovers in their shutout win over the Bucs
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The Saints could be the team no one wants to see

The New Orleans Saints defense showed out in prime time. Tom Brady and the Buccaneers were shut out. This was Brady’s first time being shut out, at home, in his entire career. The Saints defense outmuscled the Buccaneers offense the entire game. No pass went uncontested, and no rusher was allowed space. Brady completed 28 passes this game but to an average of just 3.5 yards per pass. The Saints defense smothered any receiver that the Buccaneers used all game. Tom Brady also turned the ball over twice. He both fumbled and threw an interception. When the Saints won against Brady last season, it was because the defense played like this.

The Saints could sneak into the playoffs with this defense. If healthy and playing as they did in Week 15, this defense will be able to slow down any team currently sitting atop the NFC. The Saints defense has gotten healthier the past couple of weeks, and it showed on Sunday night. There are no juggernaut offensive teams in the NFC either. This defense has shut down the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, and now the Buccaneers on the season. If the old adage, “defense wins championships” holds true, the Saints will be the team no one wants to see in the first round of the playoffs.

Poll

Is your hope in the Saints making the playoffs restored?

This poll is closed

  • 15%
    Yes and I never doubted them.
    (64 votes)
  • 67%
    I am cautiously optimistic. Let them beat the Dolphins and we’ll talk.
    (288 votes)
  • 8%
    No, they will find a way to lose a game they shouldn’t.
    (35 votes)
  • 7%
    No, all this means is that they’ll get a mediocre draft pick.
    (31 votes)
  • 1%
    I always hope that a juicy burger will restore my day.
    (8 votes)
426 votes total Vote Now

The Saints could be one and done

On the other hand, this Saints offense scored just nine points against a good defense. The Buccaneers defense has not been as great as they were last year, but the Saints could not take advantage of that this game. Taysom Hill and the running attack could not muster much again a stout defensive front from the Buccaneers, who played good enough to win this game. Combined, the Saints rushed the ball 31 times for just 61 yards. Hill, Alvin Kamara, and Mark Ingram were bottled up most of the game. Hill and the passing attack were not much better. Hill completed just 13 passes the entire game. Several of his misses were catchable, but the Saints receiving unit is still one of the worst in the NFL.

All of this could mean an early exit from the playoffs for the Saints. This is especially true if the Saints are the seventh seed and having to play the number two team. The defense can be great but managing just 212 yards of offense an entire game will surely not be enough against offensive teams like the Dallas Cowboys or Arizona Cardinals. Getting to the playoffs will be reason enough for celebration but being able to spoil someone else's season would be a nice way to end a tumultuous season. Unfortunately, this offense likely lacks the playmakers to do this. It will be good to make the playoffs again but being one of the first teams out seems probable.


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