The New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have brought us some of the most intriguing matchups in the past few seasons. From Tom Brady smashing tablets to Mike Evans getting ejected, we’ve seen it all through the past few years.
However, this year's matchup is going to look much different than in years past. Tom Brady is no longer steering the Bucs ship, and with Baker Mayfield at the helm, this offense should regress a lot, right?
Well, that hasn’t necessarily been the case thus far. Outside of their game against the Eagles, their offense has looked relatively good through three weeks. Luckily, Mike Evans has been the only one making any huge plays for them, and we all know what happens when Lattimore lines up across from Evans.
If Lattimore can continue to completely erase Mike Evans from this game, the Saints DBs should be able to find a lot of success against the Bucs other receivers. So far this year, the Saints have the top three corners in terms of passes defended in Marshon Lattimore, Alontae Taylor and Isaac Yiadom.
NFL’s League Leaders In Passes Defended Through 3 Weeks:— Boot Krewe Media (@BootKreweMedia) September 27, 2023
1.) Alontae Taylor - 7
2.) Marshon Lattimore - 6
T-3.) Isaac Yiadom - 5
Of all the different facets of an offense, the Bucs' running game has been the least impressive through three games. Rachaad White is their leading back, and he’s accumulated just 150-yards in the ground game. Behind him, Baker Mayfield is second with just 30-yards.
So, with no run game, let’s see how Bakers been doing in the pass game.
Surprisingly, Mayfield has done a very good job of managing the Bucs offense. He hasn’t put up crazy numbers, but he’s been efficient on third down and hasn’t turned the ball over. He’s throwing for just over 200-yards per game, has four touchdowns and one interception and is completing passes at a 66.7% clip.
One area that the Bucs offense has excelled at is in pass protection. Mayfield has only been sacked three times all year, and two of those came against the Eagles nasty front seven. The Saints pass rushers are going to have to work hard to get Mayfield down.
Overall, I think the Saints defense should have a good chance of neutralizing this offense. The Bucs looked pretty poor against the Eagles defense, and there’s an argument that the Saints are as good, if not better than the Eagles defense. It’s a divisional game too, so there were tempers flaring and divisional games tend to be lower scoring, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the Saints continue their streak of holding opponents to 20 or less points.
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