The 2023-2024 NFL regular season is winding down, and with only two weeks left, teams will start being eliminated from playoff contention. The New Orleans Saints are still fighting to make the playoffs but will be eliminated from playoff contention if they don’t win this week. With all this being said, let’s look at this matchup.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview
The Buccaneers have one of the best stories in the NFL this season. In the offseason, when the Bucs signed QB Baker Mayfield, they were the laughing stock of the league. Many in the NFL community criticized this move. However, Baker Mayfield has been able to block out all of the noise and deliver this season. The former number-one overall pick is on pace to throw for over 4,000 yards and have the best TD-to-INT ratio of his career.
Of course, Mayfield couldn’t have done this without his top wideout Mike Evans. The veteran is having one of the best seasons of his career, with 1,163 yards and 13 TDS. On the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs have arguably the best safety in football, Antoine Winfield Jr. The former Minnesota Gopher is PFF’s highest-graded safety, and for good reason. His versatility in coverage and pass rushing make him a nightmare to face on offense.
The Bucs 8-7 record puts them first in the NFC South. It’s their division to lose with only two weeks left.
New Orleans Saints Preview
The Saints are coming off a brutal loss on Thursday Night Football. The 30-22 score was a bit of a lie, as the Saints were losing most of this game. The Saints just couldn’t stop Puka Nacua, who had nine receptions, 164 receiving yards, and 1 TD.
New Orleans just can’t seem to beat teams .500 or above. The team currently sits at 1-6 against those teams. They have a slim chance at the playoffs and will have to be perfect from here on out.
From my column...— Jeff Duncan (@JeffDuncan_) December 22, 2023
The Saints are 6-2 against teams with losing records. Against teams with winning or .500 records, they’re 1-6.
And it’s a non-competitive 1-6.
In losses to the Texans, Jaguars, Vikings, Lions and Rams, they failed to lead for a single minute. https://t.co/KcgRdazodD
Who Will Win the Game?
I think the Bucs should take this game pretty easily. The Saints already lost to them earlier this season, 26-9, and haven’t shown signs they’re a better team since that game. They still struggle to pass and run the ball consistently, and the Bucs will take full advantage of that.
The Saints have also struggled on the road this year. They have a 3-5 record on the road.
I fully expect the Bucs to throw a ton of different blitzes at Derek Carr. The 32-year-old has struggled when under duress this year. This will lead to the Saints not scoring many points and another offensive nightmare.
The bottom line is the Bucs have figured out a winning formula, and the Saints have not. I think they’ll win this game with ease.
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