While it wasn't pretty, the New Orleans Saints came from behind and won their Week 1 matchup against the Falcons. They were down 26-10 in the fourth quarter but managed to win 27-26 to start the season 1-0.
Now the Saints will get another NFC South opponent and the winner of this one will determine who the frontrunner currently is in the division. It's Saints vs. Bucs on Sunday! Who does Madden think will win? They accurately predicted the Saints to beat the Falcons last week but had it being a blowout Saints win rather than a come-from-behind victory.
Does Madden think the Saints will best the Bucs for the fifth straight time in the regular season?
Week 2 Madden Sim: Saints 20, Buccaneers 24
Well, this would be disappointing but how does the game play out and what leads to this 24-20 Saints loss? Let's dive into the sim.
Tampa gets the ball first and, much like Saints/Bucs games in the past, Tom Brady is sacked on the first drive. The sack by Cameron Jordan leads to Brady fumbling and losing the football with New Orleans recovering deep in Bucs territory. Jameis Winston hits Alvin Kamara on a 7-yard touchdown pass soon after to make it a 7-0 Saints advantage.
The teams trade off punts until midway in the second quarter when Leonard Fournette finally breaks off a massive run, dashing 38 yards down the field into the end zone and putting the Bucs on the board. It's a 7-7 ball game with a little over six minutes to go in the second quarter.
Unfortunately while the Saints are driving on offense trying to take the lead, Winston throws a pick right into the waiting arms of Antoine Winfield Jr.. The Bucs aren't able to find the end zone at the end of the drive but they run the clock down and Ryan Succop kicks a 22-yard field goal to make it a 10-7 Bucs lead at half time.
New Orleans gets the ball first to start the second half but their drive stalls and the Bucs then build on their lead on their next drive with another Fournette touchdown, this time from 17 yards out. Tampa is now up 17-7 and the Saints need to get something going.
The Saints go 3-and-out on their next drive and once again, the Buccaneers add to their score. Tom Brady connects with Mike Evans on a 19-yard touchdown to make it a 24-7 game. New Orleans needs to figure things out and quickly.
As the third quarter comes to a close, Winston hits Jarvis Landry with a huge gain of 56 yards to set the Saints up in the red zone. The good guys can't fully capitalize, however, but Wil Lutz knocks through a chip-shot 20-yard field goal to make it a 24-10 ball game in the dome.
While the Saints defense quickly gets Brady and the Bucs off the field on their ensuing drive, it takes too long for New Orleans' offense to get down the field. They do score on an 8-yard touchdown run by Alvin Kamara but it's too little, too late. They attempt an onside kick following the touchdown but the Bucs recover and run out the clock.
This would be a disappointing result for the Saints, especially after their fiery comeback win last week. Madden doesn't think they can pull off another crazy comeback this week.