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Week 4 Schedule Breakdown: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

With Tom Brady gone, the Buccaneers are going to look a lot different in 2023.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints are set to take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Weeks 4 and 17 in 2023. With Tom Brady retiring for good following last season, this Bucs team is going to be very different than the ones from years past.

The Bucs are searching for the heir apparent to Tom Brady, and it doesn’t look like they’ve found him just yet. The Bucs will most likely be starting Baker Mayfield the begin the season, and there’s a chance we see Kyle Trask make an appearance at some point if Mayfield isn’t meeting expectations. Neither of these two should be a starting QB in the NFL, which makes me think they Bucs could be tanking to try to get Caleb Williams or Drake Maye in next year's draft.

The Buccaneers offense that was once loaded with weapons and super stars has been depleted. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin still lead the receiving core, but they’re both aging and will be catching passed from an inconsistent Mayfield. Second year RB Rachaad White had a promising rookie season with 771 total yards and three TDs last season. Outside of those three, the Bucs don’t have any true weapons on the offensive side of the ball. If Marshon Lattimore plays, he’s proven time and time again that he can lock down Evans. If Alontae Taylor can continue to improve on his 2022 season, the Saints will be in prime position to shut down this offense.

The defensive side of the ball for the Buccaneers is a different story. They’ve prided themselves on being one of the best defensive teams in the league the past few seasons. They have one of the best linebackers in the game in Lavonte David and they have an elite run stuffer in Vita Vea. They lost Sean Muphy-Bunting and Mike Edwards in their secondary, which could open things up for Chris Olave and Rasheed Shahid down the field.

Both of these games will be huge for the Saints. If they can take down Carolina in week two and turn around and beat the Bucs in week four, the Saints can take an early 2-0 division record and ride it the rest of the way. The Saints will get the Bucs in week 17 before playing Carolina for a second time in week 18. A win in Tampa in week 17 could just be the one that wraps up the division title for the Saints.

Historically the Saints have dominated the Bucs, leading the overall series against 39-24 including winning seven of the last 10 matchups. They’re looking to sweep the Bucs after going 0-2 against them in 2022. These could be two huge matchups for the Saints, and a sweep of the Bucs could be the difference maker when it comes to the NFC South title.

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