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Our offense vs. their defense: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Saints offense is likely without Derek Carr, but in return they get Alvin Kamara back.

New Orleans Saints v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The New Orleans Saints have a shot to go 2-0 in the division with a battle against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Saints offense will likely be without Derek Carr, but in return, they get back all-pro running back Alvin Kamara.

Obviously, losing Derek Carr is a huge blow for this Saints offense. Although he hasn’t looked great this season, a lot of those struggles can be attributed to the poor offensive line play. This week, we’ll likely see Jameis Winston take the field as the Saints starting QB.

Winston gets his revenge against the Bucs. In his last meeting against his former team, Winston was 25-40 for 236 yards and a touchdown, but he also threw three interceptions. The problem with Winston is obviously his turnovers. He can be a very efficient passer, but he always seems to throw at least one bad interception every game. If he wants to lead the Saints to a victory, he’s going to have to eliminate his turnovers in this game.

The Saints have one of, if not the best receiving core in the league. Chris Olave and Rashid Shaheed continue to make big plays down the stretch and Michael Thomas has looked pretty good in his first three games. So far this season, the Saints are the only team without a single drop by one of their wide receivers.

The Bucs may be without Carlton Davis and Jamel Dean who are their two best corners. Both are listed as questionable, but since they just played on Monday night, that doesn’t mean too much. Whether or not the Bucs have their two corners, I think the Saints receivers will still be able to get open, the only question is will Jameis be able to get the ball to them?

That will depend on the offensive line play, which has been well below average so far. Winston struggles heavily when there’s pressure, and the Bucs have already recorded nine sacks this season. It’s going to be really hard to fix all their issues up front in one week, but hopefully the Saints offensive line can find a new fire under them after they let Derek Carr get injured.

The Saints run game will get a huge boost this week with the return of Alvin Kamara. After serving his three-game suspension, the star RB will be back on the field this week. Outside of Taysom Hill, the Saints haven’t been able to find any success in the run game, but that could change this week.

Kamara has been one of the more explosive backs in the league since he entered in 2017, but Pete Carmichael is going to have to change up how he uses Kamara. He cannot continue to make Kamara run between the tackles every time, he needs to get him outside and in space. Even if it’s a bunch of screens, wheel routes, flat routes or any other short pass that is basically the extension of the run game, they need to make sure he can utilize his skills in space to get to the most out of him.

This Saints offense has been super lackluster through three weeks, and I don’t think it’ll get too much better with Winston under center. The return of Kamara will certainly help, but if Pete Carmichael continues to use him wrong and dials up a bunch of deep pass plays that make Winston hold onto the ball too long, they’ll probably end up on the losing end of this game.

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