A divisional round matchup between divisional foes. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will battle the New Orleans Saints Sunday at 6:40pm EST. The Bucs will have their hands full with New Orleans. They sport a top ten defense and one of the best quarterbacks of all time. Not to mention, they beat Tampa Bay twice, including a blowout on primetime. The Bucs will have to put forth their best effort of the season if they hope to advance to championship weekend.
A final Matchup.
Tom Brady and Drew Brees will go down as two of the greatest to play the game. They’re both generational players that fans will remember for years to come. This divisional round matchup will be the last time these two giants will face each other on the Gridiron. It will not be the last of Brady, but it could be the last of Brees. These two have faced each other in four different decades dating back to 1999. Brees was at Purdue while Brady was playing in Ann Arbor. Brees and Brady are 1st and 2nd respectively in career passing yards (80,358 and 79,204). Brady leads in career touchdowns with 581, while Brees has 571. Despite Brady winning 6 Super Bowls to Brees’ 2, Brees has a commanding lead in head-to-head matchups with a 5-2 record.
Two of those wins come with Brady as a Buccaneer. On opening day New Orleans defeated the Bucs in Brady’s debut 34-24. Brees went 18/30, 160 yards and 2 TDs. Brady outperformed Brees in the loss throwing for 239 yards and 2 TDs but had 2 interceptions. In the second meeting, the Saints defense was much less kind to Tampa Tom. They sacked him three times and intercepted him three times on the way to a 38-3 blowout win in a primetime divisional game. Brady threw for 209 yards. Brees on the other hand threw 4 TDs and racked up 222 yards and a 135.2 QBR. Needless to say both defenses will have their work cut out for them.
A big key for Tampa Bay in this division round is their defense. The Saints are a top ten defense while the Bucs have been struggling on that side of the ball. New Orleans has shown what can happen when Brady is pressured consistently. Despite Tampa’s offense firing on all cylinders, this will be the best team they’ve played since their hot streak began. Tampa’s defense will have to step up. They will bolstered by the return of linebacker Devin White, one of their most dynamic playmakers. However, the secondary has shown to be the issue as they are ranked 21st in pass yards allowed. New Orleans is deep at receiver and they constantly use RB Alvin Kamara out of the backfield. The Bucs defense are going to have to make enough stops for the offense to do it’s thing, otherwise Tampa’s season will hit the end of the road.
The Bucs put up a much better effort but still fall short. The defense won’t be able to get key stops at key times, while New Orleans’ defense will do enough to limit Tampa’s explosiveness and pressure Brady.
Score: 31-27 New Orleans
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