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Saints vs. Bucs: Five brave predictions

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Dec 4, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) gestures after a 28-21 win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) gestures after a 28-21 win over the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports /
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Dec 4, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) runs the ball while defended by San Diego Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams (42) during the second half at Qualcomm Stadium. Tampa Bay won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 4, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) runs the ball while defended by San Diego Chargers cornerback Trevor Williams (42) during the second half at Qualcomm Stadium. Tampa Bay won 28-21. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /

The Buccaneers’ ground game comes to life.

Doug Martin has struggled mightily this season. He’s averaging only 3 yards per carry, and has only found the end-zone twice.

But he missed an early portion of the season. And in his few active games he’s played some dominant run defenses. Including the Cardinals, the Seahawks, and the Chiefs. While the Saints have been much improved against the run, last week we saw Detroit’s second and third-string backs bring their struggling run game to life against N.O. And I’m concerned the same might happen again.

Sheldon Rankins’s return really paid dividens for this defensive line. They’re playing pretty well against the run. Cam Jordan is obviously a monster. The reason for concern is Craig Robertson. Robertson exited last weeks game and has since missed practice time with a shoulder injury. The severity of the injury is unclear, but if Robertson misses the game the Saints don’t have any great players behind him.

Michael Mauti is out. James Laurinaitis is out. Nate Stupar will get the starting nod, I hope. If it’s Stephone Anthony, then the Saints are really in trouble.

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