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How does the Saints' pass offense stack up against the Buccaneers’ pass defense?

With Week 1 behind us, we can now look ahead to Week 2 and how the Saints’ passing offense will hold up against the Buccaneers’ passing defense

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1 is behind us with the New Orleans Saints making a 4th quarter comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons, winning 27-26. In this game, we got to see some good matchups between players, specifically in the passing game. In this article I will cover how this passing attack should fare against their next opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and if they will build upon this past game to become even more volatile.

Week 1 Breakdown

First, let’s look at how the receiving game played against the Falcons. The primary issue in the first 3 quarters for the Saints was the offensive line, as they are getting used to life without Terron Armstead on the blindside, giving up 5 sacks on the game and allowing 17 pressures. However, Jameis Winston kicked it into gear in the 4th quarter, as did the rest of the Saints’ offense, and had some really solid final stats:

  • Michael Thomas: 5 receptions, 57 yards, 2 touchdowns, 11.4 average
  • Jarvis Landry: 7 receptions, 114 yards, 16.3 average
  • Chris Olave: 3 receptions, 41 yards, 13.7 average

On the other side of things, the Buccaneers' secondary played lights out, even prior to the injury to Dak Prescott. The Bucs’ held the Dallas Cowboys to 3 points in the game, the only team that did not score a touchdown in Week 1 and held WR1 CeeDee Lamb to 2 receptions for 29 yards. In the game, Dallas had less than 200 receiving yards with 198, and no receiving touchdowns. The Bucs’ primary DBs put up the following stats:

  • Antoine Winfield Jr.: 3 receptions allowed on 6 targets (50%), 33.3 passer rating allowed when targeted, 1 interception, 42 yards allowed
  • Carlton Davis: 3 receptions allowed on 10 targets (30%), 39.6 passer rating allowed when targeted, 1 pass deflection, 30 yards allowed
  • Jamel Dean: 3 receptions allowed on 6 targets (50%), 56.2 passer rating allowed when targeted, 0 YAC allowed, 17 yards allowed

How do these two units match up for Week 2?

This is another good game to watch for the 1 on 1 matchups, just like it was with the Falcons. Michael Thomas vs Carlton Davis is a classic. Jarvis Landry vs Jamel Dean, a great matchup. Chris Olave/Deonte Harty on deep routes vs Antoine Winfield Jr. should be really intriguing to witness. This is simply put, a game of who can win their matchup, and who can make it downfield or who can stop the downfield yards.

From 2016 to 2019 (pre-injury), Michael Thomas never finished with less than 65 yards and 6 receptions against the Buccaneers, with two games of 180+ yards, and a third of 100+. Regardless, Thomas, in every single matchup, has had at least 3 or more receptions, including those in which he was coming off of injury, or was injured. In the last matchup of these two teams, it was a dud offensively for both teams, ending 9-0, yet WR1 at the time Marquez Callaway still had 6 receptions for 112 yards, with Taysom Hill at QB. In the matchup before that, with Trevor Siemian being QB1 after the Jameis Winston injury, the Saints would have 5 different receivers with 30+ yards on the night.

In terms of talent, the Saints have added 3 new receivers technically since last year, with MT, Jarvis, and Olave now on the roster and healthy. They also have QB1 back in Jameis Winston, who will want to prove himself against his former team. It will be a great matchup without a doubt, but in the matchup of Saints’ passing offense vs Bucs' passing defense, the Saints on paper should have the edge.

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