Tom Brady, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Here is a look at the second game of the 2022 season for the Buccaneers as they face off against the New Orleans Saints in a tough matchup.
Today, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be taking on the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans in a fight of 1-0 teams looking to take command of the NFC South early.
The Saints, like Tampa, won their first game of the season, but they did it in a 1-point, come from WAY behind victory against Atlanta. They came back from 16 points down in the start of the fourth quarter, but let’s be honest, they should have never been down if we are comparing their talent level to Atlanta’s. The highly-touted Saints defense giving up 26 points and 420 total yards probably shocked some people.
Somehow though, no matter what situation the Saints are in, they always seem to be ready for Tampa Bay.
Do you realize it has been almost 4 YEARS since the Bucs have beat the saints in a regular season matchup? The Saints have taken the last 7 straight games in this divisional rivalry. The last game we played against them Tampa Bay actually got shut out entirely. We can not look past this game and expect an easy win because nothing is guaranteed in this game.
How do this year’s teams matchup?
Well, due to injuries along our offensive line and their proven pass rush ability, our offensive game plan will likely be centered around establishing the run, short to medium passes, and occasional deep shots where we keep our running backs beside Brady to block.
I know that’s not the most exciting gameplay in the world, but these guys generate a lot of pressure and use that to create turnovers, and with our depleted offensive line, we have to play smart. Keeping Tom Brady upright is not only key to this game, but our season hinges on it. The good thing about that, is that is exactly where Atlanta’s offense excelled against the Saints.
Cordarelle Patterson was able to break free for 120 yards, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. If our running backs can see similar success, we know Brady can be lethal getting through his progressions quickly and diagnosing a defense. Our biggest key will be being able to sustain the protection around Brady, particularly if his blindside protector, Donovan Smith, is unable to go due to the elbow he hyperextended in last week’s game against Dallas.
While their offense is on the field, a lot will depend on the playing status of their top running back Alvin Kamara, who is dealing with a rib injury after their win over Atlanta. Kamara is a game changer that the New Orleans offense can run through both in the run game, and as an option receiving the ball out of the backfield. If Kamara is unable to play, or is limited, the Saints will likely turn to Mark Ingram II, along with utilizing Taysom Hill in some versatile ways to get the offense going. It is also worth noting that they did just sign Latavius Murray to their practice squad.
We are all well acquainted to their quarterback, Jamies Winston. Winston as a quarterback is high risk and high reward, but he took care of the ball pretty well in Week One. His top target in the first week was not the prime veteran Michael Thomas, it was not the potential breakout rookie Chris Olave…. It was actually Jarvis Landry, who came over from the Cleveland Browns. Our defense will need to really focus on putting on the pressure to force Jamies into making mistakes.
Our secondary should be able to keep up with the Saints receivers, just as they did against the Cowboys in a masterful Week One performance, so applying pressure and stopping the run will be key to making their offense press into bad decisions, leading to turnover opportunity.
Will our pass rush be up to the challenge? As shown in the tweeted graphic below, Shaq Barrett had the highest pass rush win rate % in the league last week…. So you know he’s going to be ready!
The highest pass-rush win % in Week 1 🔥 pic.twitter.com/zstaUpCYfg
— PFF (@PFF) September 14, 2022
While this is an away game, and one we can not overlook, I believe this is a really good opportunity for us to break the streak that New Orleans has been holding against us!
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