Saints vs Bucs Winner Is Obvious, According To ESPN

Saints vs Bucs Winner Is Obvious, According To ESPN

Saints vs Bucs Winner Is Obvious, According To ESPN

The New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to do battle this Sunday in arguably the most highly-anticipated showdown of the weekend.

According to ESPN, however, the winner of the match-up is fairly obvious.

The Worldwide Leader in Sports has developed a model to predict the outcomes of looming NFL games. That model shows the Saints with a nearly 60 percent chance of coming out victorious.

Saints vs Bucs
Saints vs Bucs

Although ESPN seems confident, odds makers envision this one being close. The Saints, who are hosting the game, are listed at -3.5.

New Orleans and Tampa Bay are expected to be the two top teams in the NFC South this year. For a portion of the offseason the Saints appeared to be the clear favorite to emerge with the divisional crown, but then Tom Brady turned everything on its head and signed with the Bucs.

That changed the landscape dramatically.

Brady, 43, is going to have more weapons at his disposal in Tampa Bay than he’s had in a long time. What he will be able to do with them remains to be seen.

“We’re going to figure out what we’re good at and not good at,” he said this week.

“I wish we knew those things right now, but I think the reality is we don’t. You don’t know it until you go do it.”

Last year, the Saints ranked 20th against the pass. Realizing it was a liability, the team added Malcolm Jenkins in the offseason.

Jenkins will do his part to slow down Brady and Co., but a lot will depend on whether Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans ends up playing. At the moment, he is a game time decision.

“He did some individual stuff today,” head coach Bruce Arians said on Friday.

“We’ll see if he’s sore tomorrow, but he’ll probably be a game-time decision.”

On the other side, Brees will line up and try to erase the memories of last year’s collapse in the playoffs. The 41-year-old understands his time to win another Super Bowl is running out, and the trek to a title begins against Tampa Bay.

“Father Time is going to get us at some point,” Brees said recently.

“But we’re trying to beat him out right now.”

The Bucs offense ranked 30th against the pass last year, and Brees is no doubt licking his chops at the prospect of newly signed Emmanuel Sanders lining up alongside Michael Thomas, tight end Jared Cook and star running back Alvin Kamara. If the pieces align, it could be a bloodbath out there.

At the end of the day, Brees understands that everyone is tuning in this weekend to see a pair of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history engage in a duel for the ages.

“I’m sure I speak for both of us when I say that I think we both kind of pinch ourselves, the blessing and the opportunity to be able to play this long and play for so many great teams and with so many great players,” he said.

Brady, for his part, was very complimentary of his counterpart.

“Obviously when you go against great players like Drew and a great team like that, you know there’s not a lot of margin of error,” he said.

“Sometimes you go up against lesser experienced players — at certainly the quarterback position — maybe some defenses or some teams aren’t as well-rounded as others. But the Saints are not one of those teams.

“They have a great quarterback, a great offense, incredible skill players, great continuity in their organization. Defense, they rush the passer, good in the secondary, great at linebacker. They’ve got everything.”

Sunday’s battle will be very telling. It will set the tone for the NFC South going forward and be a great indicator of what realistic expectations are for both Brees and Brady heading into the new year.

The Saints and Buccaneers will kick off at 1:25 pm and air on Fox.

Related: Miami Quarterback Tate Martell Is Already Suspended

Jennifer Withers Hoey

Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.

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