The New Orleans Saints should dominate the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this Sunday but don’t be shocked if they drop two in a row.
Andrus Peat is 100% not playing this upcoming Sunday and Marshon Lattimore will likely also sit while nursing a hamstring injury. Those two players not being in will be a blow for the New Orleans Saints on both sides of the ball.
Taking down Tampa bay 31-24 earlier in the season, New Orleans was able to be so dominant because they limited Mike Evans and protected Teddy Bridgewater. In Week 11, both of those may be difficult for the Saints to replicate.
When I say difficult, I mean virtually impossible.
Peat, a Pro Bowler in 2018, played in 100% of the offensive snaps in six of the team’s nine games. Then, when he played a season-low 32% against Atlanta, the Saints gave up a game-changing six sacks.
In their first meeting, the Saints didn’t allow the league-leader in sacks, Shaquil Barrett, one shot at Bridgewater. Now, they’ll be facing him without one of their most forceful threats on the line.
As for Lattimore’s importance, that, as well, can not be understated.
Lattimore locked up Mike Evans. He did have a single reception although having a few inch size advantage. Since being absolutely abused by Lattimore, Evans has put up over 80 yards in each of the four games and over 180 yards in two of those four.
He’ll remember that, and now, he’ll get to see Eli Apple on every play. For New Orleans, that should sound terrifying. Apple has been a quality cornerback on the lesser-skilled receivers. He’ll also be giving up four inches to the two-time Pro Bowler.
This could be a disaster.
Like Atlanta proved, these divisional games are personal. Not having a sack or not having a reception is personal.
Tampa Bay is going to have a chip on their shoulder, and it may be difficult for New Orleans to match their intensity and skill without those two high-impact players.