In an ideal world, the Saints’ success against the Bucs from the regular season would translate perfectly into the playoffs.
Unfortunately, Tampa Bay is a far better team now that they have had time to get accumulated to one another.
Antonio Brown looks like his peak self, the play-calling has improved, and they aren’t dealing with any key injuries. New Orleans, on the other hand, is not able to generate explosive plays offensively and hasn’t been very efficient on early downs.
For those reasons, I believe the Bucs will win this game outright. They are the team that can be counted on to move the ball through the air, and, honestly, they have the better offense and defense.
Thus, they are the better team currently.
This could be Brees’ last game, which means he and Payton will likely put everything they have left into winning this game. That could work in the Saints favor. They need to pass the ball early and often, attack Devin White and Sean Murphy-Bunting, and play a lot of two-high coverages to limit explosive plays.
Their chances of winning circle around their gameplan, and if that is sound, perhaps they can continue to dominate this matchup. Unfortunately, Tampa Bay’s star power looks unstoppable right now.
A divisional matchup featuring two of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history? Sign me up.
This is what the playoffs are made of, and as Brees hopes to keep his career going, it is safe to say that this will be a game that Saints fans remember for years. Here’s hoping that those memories will be positive ones.