Tampa Bay at New Orleans
Time: NOON (CT) FOX
Spread: NO -7
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-5 after losing its fourth straight game last week to the Carolina Panthers. Tampa Bay now travels to face the New Orleans Saints hoping to end that streak, but the Saints are 7-point favorites at Noon Sunday on FOX.
The over/under is set high at 52.5 points, partially a reflection of Tampa Bay’s poor No. 24 ranked defense which allows 24 points per game.
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Last week the Panthers defense simply proved to be too much for Tampa Bay. Though Jameis Winston did throw for 210 yards, he was just 21 of 38 and had two interceptions and was sacked three times (for 16 lost yards). Running back Doug Martin was effective with 71 yards on his 18 carries, but Winston’s mistakes were costly.
Cameron Brate led the receivers with 64 yards on four catches, while Mike Evans had five catches for 60 yards, but Tampa Bay nevertheless failed to record a touchdown in the game, getting its lone 3-points of course off of a Patrick Murray field goal. Winston also fumbled (lost) in the game, and Carolina was deadly on its special teams, only further making the difference in a game it led 10-0 at the intermission. The Panthers improved to 4-1 on the road with its win, while Tampa Bay fell to .500 (2-2) at home.
Winston has been better in his second NFL Season, but he has still thrown six interceptions to his 10 TDs (2.4 percent ratio). He is averaging 255.0 yards per game and 7.5 yards per completion, but Tampa Bay’s running game has been pretty weak. Martin is consistent but unspectacular with 3.8 yards-per-carry on his 65 attempts, and Jacquizz Rodgers is rushing much the same with 3.6 yards-per-carry on 48 tries.
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Winston has not been overly successful moving the ball from the pocket, either, with just 43 yards on 13 carries, not to mention his two fumbles this season. Tampa Bay is building a successful pass attack, but it has to add some better backfield options if its offense is to take the next step and average more than 21.1 points per game (No. 19 in the NFL).
The Saints are 5-2 and have won five straight since dropping its first two games of the season. Last week brought a 20-12 victory over the Chicago Bears, as Drew Brees threw for 299 yards on 23 of 38 passing, averaging 10.7 yards per completion in a truly dominant performance over the Bears and rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky. Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn Jr. and Brandon Coleman all had 50 yards or better, and rookie running back Alvin Kamara caught three passes for 48 yards in addition to his 28 rushing yards (on eight attempts).
The Saints had 101 total rushing yards and scored both its TDs via the rush, showing that while Brees and company move the ball, Mark Ingram and Kamara can be relied upon well in the red zone. Expect a similar attack to prevail this week against Tampa Bay as the Saints take care of business against a Bucs team that simply has too glaring of weaknesses to hang with New Orleans, especially on the road, where Tampa Bay has struggled this season.
Tampa Bay is 0-3 on the road this season, and has a -8.3 point differential this season on the road. Meanwhile, New Orleans is 2-1 at home this season.