Over the past two seasons since the arrival of Tom Brady in Tampa Bay, the Saints and the Buccaneers have become a matchup many look forward to seeing. It’s almost become a rivalry that runs deeper than the division. It’s not just New Orleans vs Tampa Bay, the real story has become the Saints defense vs Tom Brady.
The Saints have gone 4-1 with the Bucs over the past two seasons with the one loss coming in the playoffs. A big reason the Saints have had success against the Bucs have been their ability to pressure Brady with the front four without compromising the secondary. For two seasons, Brady has not been able to find an answer for Dennis Allen’s defense. Will Sunday be more of the same?
If the Saints win
Starting off the season not only 2-0 overall, but also in the division would be huge for this Saints team as they charge through what they hope to be a comeback season. If the Saints were to go over, the media would surely go into a frenzy as this would put New Orleans at 5-1 over Brady’s Bucs. Coming out of Sunday’s slate of football 2-0 would also begin to separate New Orleans from the rest of the pack. The number of undefeated teams in the NFL will grow smaller by the week, if New Orleans could go on a streak to start the season, that would be huge in terms of momentum.
This would also vindicate Winston who will be playing with a chip on his shoulder as this is the team that gave up on him. Not only did they give up on him, but they also ultimately became the team that cost him nearly a season of his career. If the Saints win here, this will go a long way in turning a new chapter in Winston’s career, helping him move forward.
If the Saints lose
Losing here wouldn’t be the end of the world as falling to the Bucs would put the Saints at 1-1 in both the division and overall. The downside to losing to Tampa Bay would be the backlash from the media. The media would drown the Saints in negativity and surely make a target out of Winston.
Although losing here isn’t the outcome anyone hopes for, especially against Tampa Bay, it’s worth noting that week 2 is far from the time to fret. All will be okay even if the Saints fail to defeat their division rival. They’ll have another 15 games to bounce back with.
The Saints are in prime position to take a firm lead in the NFC South by defeating two divisional opponents in back-to-back weeks. Will they get the job done as they open up the Caesar's Superdome to fans for the first time this season? The dome will surely be full of excitement as the Saints come marching in.