Can the Saints really beat the Bucs a third time?
The New Orleans Saints are looking to dispel the old adage that it’s hard to beat a team 3 times in a season. But is it really?
A lot is at stake Sunday evening as the New Orleans Saints take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The winner will advance to the NFC Championship game while the loser will have their season end and an offseason of questions moving forward. For the New Orleans Saints to accomplish the former, they will need to beat the Buccaneers a 3rd time this season.
Can they do it?
Despite what the national pundits may suggest about beating a team 3 times in a season, history is actually on the Saints’ side.
Since the NFL merger in 1966, teams that have won the first 2 tilts in this scenario are 14-7 in winning the 3rd game. That’s a 67 percent winning percentage. The numbers are even higher since 2000, where those teams are 6-2 marking a 75 percent winning percentage.
The Saints have first-hand experience with this as they defeated the Carolina Panthers twice in the regular season and the playoff game back in 2018. The common theme is that each game was closer than the previous, but the Saints were still able to come out on top the third time.
Surely, everyone expects this game to be closer than the 38-3 beatdown the Saints administered to the Buccaneers back on November 8th.
The Buccaneers are a different team than they were that night, but so are the Saints. In fact, one may argue the Saints are the better team from top to bottom. A win on Sunday would no doubt cement that argument.
The Saints must not let overconfidence creep into their thought process. Yes, they beat this team twice, both margins by double digits, but that means nothing if the Saints cannot go out and duplicate efforts on Sunday.
It will take a total team effort to do this, but the Saints know what’s at stake at getting this done. Justin Dunbar here with Who Dat Dish has an excellent preview of the matchup here.
All of the talking heads will point to the mystique of Tom Brady in the playoffs and his seeming invincibility.
The New Orleans Saints, however, showed Brady a welcome to the NFC South this season as they were the first team to sweep him in a division. The Saints will try and go for the trifecta as they try to sweep away his season.