Matchup to watch: Bucs pass defense against Drew Brees and his arsenal
By Dayton Brown
One of the worst pass defenses in the league could give way to an outstanding performance by the future Hall of Fame QB, Drew Brees.
Week 9 is upon us, and so is another divisional matchup for the Saints. This is the second of the season, coming a lot later than usual. The first occurred in week 3, as the Saints traveled to Charlotte and defeated the Panthers, 34-13. In that game, Drew Brees was an efficient 22 of 29 for 220 yards and 3 TDs.
That victory kicked off the current 5-game win streak for New Orleans. Now, the Saints will host the 2-5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers for the first of two matchups of the season. With a young, up and coming roster, the Bucs seemed prime for a playoff run, especially with talented Jameis Winston under Center.
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However, that hasn’t been the case so far this season. Tampa Bay has lost 4 in a row, and Winston hasn’t been himself all year. Their offense has been fine: they’re 2nd in the league in total passing yards. That has in part to do with backup Ryan Fitzpatrick stepping up when Winston went down.
But, it’s Tampa’s defense that has them in a rut. They’re 27th in pass defense, and a bottom-10 team in total interceptions. They have 5 all season. Micah Hyde of the Buffalo Bills has that many by himself, and the Saints as a team have 9 (Kenny Vaccaro has 3 of his own).
Even better? Drew Brees has only thrown 4 picks all season, showing his poise, even in a “down” year. His season hasn’t been out of this world, but Brees is playing great football in 2017. He’s 8th in the league in passing, and he will surely eclipse 2,000 yards through 8 games after Sunday.
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Injuries to Brent Grimes and TJ Ward have held the Tampa Bay secondary back. Struggles from Vernon Hargreaves and Chris Conte continue to hurt the Buccaneers through the air as well.
Expect to see a field day from Brees. He has awesome weapons, including rookie, Alvin Kamara and future Pro Bowler, Michael Thomas. They’ll be able to find holes in this weak Tampa defense, whether the team goes man or zone coverage. All the Saints have to do offensively is be themselves, and big chunk yardage plays will happen all game.