It’s hard to believe we’re already at week four of the New Orleans Saints season, but here we are with our fourth edition of interview with the enemy.
This week, Evan Wanish with Bucs Nation joins us to preview this Sunday’s game.
LH: Baker Mayfield has gone above and beyond his expectations for this season, do you think he can keep it up for the rest of the year? Or do you think he’ll fall back down to earth at some point?
EW: It’s honestly hard to say at this point. Mayfield has been pretty solid for the Buccaneers especially at taking care of the football with his only mistake being last week against Philly. If he can continue to be a game manager or a point guard as OC Dave Canales says, it is easy to see a world where the Bucs offense has more success as the season goes on.
The issue with Mayfield though has always been consistency, so it is hard to truly read what type of player you are gonna get from week to week.
LH: The Bucs run game through three weeks has struggled to get going. Do you think that falls more on Rachaad White’s shoulders or the offensive lines?
I think struggles in the run game, especially with how bad the Bucs have been through three games falls on three separate things. The offensive play calling, the offensive line and the running backs. The play calling needs to be able to put the team in better positions while the offensive line and running backs simply have to execute better. In 2022 the Bucs run game was basically nonexistent and even though it is early in the season, it appears to be even worse in 2023.
It’s something they will have to correct if they wish to make any type of real noise in the NFC this year.
LH: With Mike Evans setting a deadline that has since passed for a contract extension, do you feel there’s any chance you guys resign him? or do you think he’ll actually leave Tampa Bay this offseason?
Even though the deadline set by his agency has passed, I still do believe there’s a chance that Evans remains in Tampa Bay after this season. The team loves him, and he loves the team, so it’s just about getting a number that’s fair for both sides. The Bucs will likely let Evans hit the open market and see what is out there, then make the determination on what they can offer him to make him a Buc for life.
LH: Through three games, the Bucs defense is allowing just over 18 PPG. Did you expect the defense to play as good as it has? And what position group do you think has performed the best?
Coming into this season I did think that the defense was going to be the unit to carry the team and so far, it has remained true. Despite a lackluster performance against the Eagles, the defensive line has been a force this year and has resulted in a few forced turnovers, which have been huge for Tampa Bay in these close games.
LH: The Saints open as 3.5-point favorites on DraftKings Sportsbook. Do you think Tampa can cover in the Superdome?
I do think Tampa Bay can cover this weekend especially with that 3.5 number. This game is gonna be close and likely pretty low scoring. The Bucs have a good bit of uncertainty with injuries right now on defense, so I think I like New Orleans to take this game 20-17. Saints take the win, but Bucs get the cover.
Thank you again to Evan for joining us! You can check out the rest of his work here.
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Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.