NFL · Thu (10/27) @ 8:14pm ET
|Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida|
New Orleans Saints (6-7, 6-7 ATS) at Tampa Bay Bucs (10-3, 7-6 ATS)
Time: 8:20 p.m. EST
BetMGM Line: Bucs -10.5 (46.5)
The skinny: The Bucs can clinch the NFC South with three games to spare with a win or tie against New Orleans, which is in a five-way logjam at 6-7 for the final NFC wild card.
Facts: The last time the Saints played at Tampa Bay, in Week 9 of 2020, they beat the Super Bowl-bound Bucs 38-3, with New Orleans’ Drew Brees having his best game of the season. When the teams met in the playoffs 10 weeks later, the Bucs won 30-20 in the Superdome and Brees has his worst day (38.1 rating).
The Saints no longer have the retired Brees, and no longer have 2021 starter Jameis Winston (IR) and no longer use Trevor Siemian, who was benched for his role in a four-game losing streak. For the past two weeks it has been QB Taysom Hill, who steered N.O. to a 30-9 win at the N.Y. Jets last week,
In Tampa Bay’s 33-27 OT win over visiting Buffalo on Sunday, the Bucs blew a 24-3 halftime edge before rallying to score a TD on a 94-yard drive in the extra session. It was the biggest blown lead in the league this season.
Analysis: The Bucs will be out for some payback after losing 36-27 in the Superdome six weeks ago thanks to a minus-3 turnover differential that included a pick-six by QB Tom Brady.
Winning the division would be nice for the Bucs, but they have their focus on catching Green Bay atop the NFC playoff standings to avoid a repeat January trip to Lambeau Field. Thus, their motivation will be extremely high to keep winning and leapfrog the Packers for the bye week and home field throughout the playoffs.
Brady and Chris Godwin have been a highly productive pairing of late, with Godwin having a career-high 15 catches two weeks ago and another 10 last week after not reaching double digits in the first 11 games. He had eight catches for 140 yards in that previous meeting vs. N.O. Bucs RB Leonard Fournette has been a force as a runner and receiver.
As for the Saints, just like last year, Hill remains a work in progress in taking care of the ball. Two weeks ago, he threw four INTs against the Cowboys. Last week, he fumbled twice against the Jets. New Orleans can’t afford any of those shenanigans here. But odds are he’ll have another couple turnovers Sunday.
Saints at Bucs Pick
Bucs 34, Saints 20
Last week: 6-8 ATS, 10-4 SU
Season total: 97-108-3 (.473) ATS; 126-81-1 (.609) SU