It may be only Week 4, but every divisional matchup is important — and this NFC South showdown on Sunday is especially so.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints both face each other at 2-1 on Sunday, and the winner in Caesar’s Superdome could get an early jump on the division. The Bucs and Saints are both coming off of losses, and Tampa Bay looks to prove it still has a tough defense while the Saints will enter Sunday with a mystery at quarterback as QB Derek Carr remains injured and QB Jameis Winston awaits a possible start.
Our staff gave our picks for how the game could turn out — check them out below:
Maybe I’m too bullish on this one, but I’m surprised that I’m the only person going with the Bucs here. It’ll be an ugly one, but the Saints are playing with a quarterback who either will have to grind through a shoulder injury (Derek Carr) or a quarterback who was almost entirely unable to convert on a first down against the Packers and is somewhat known for his turnover tendencies (Jameis Winston). I think the Bucs can do enough on offense to win this one and Tampa Bay’s defense should fair much better on what I think is an anemic offense. Bucs win a grinder in New Orleans.
Bucs 17, Saints 13
In a weak NFC South, the Bucs and the Saints are arguably the top dogs, owing in no small measure to having the best defenses and arguably the best quarterbacks. It’s the quarterbacks that will make Sunday’s matchup in New Orleans especially intriguing as the Bucs could face their former franchise passer, Jameis Winston, who may start in place of an injured Derek Carr. He is in a similar setup that he had in Tampa Bay–great receivers but a suspect offensive line. Todd Bowles has been in his bag sending pressure this year, stopped only by the NFL’s best offensive line in last week’s loss to Philadelphia. This should be another slugfest in the most relevant NFC South rivalry at the moment (Cam Jordan’s dismissal of such notwithstanding), with Saints eking out a win at home.
Saints 17, Bucs 13
Can the Bucs “eat a W” Sunday after a rough performance against the Eagles? The Saints are top ten defensively in both run and pass yards allowed per game. Tampa Bay can’t rely on the arm of Baker Mayfield to get the job done and can’t look toward it’s injury-riddled defense to lead charge. Rachaad White needs to have a breakout performance if the Bucs are to defeat the Saints on the road. However, I think Tampa Bay will finish just short of the Saints behind a multi-touchdown performance by New Orleans.
Saints 27, Bucs 19