New Orleans Saints: Three Keys To Sinking the Buccaneers
With Sunday football fast approaching, we look forward to the later game of the day, New Orleans Saints Vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The third time this season that these teams have met, we will finally get a Tom Brady vs. Drew Brees playoff matchup. The two other meetings of these teams this season both ended in Saints’ victories. Week 1 ended 34-23, and the other in Week 9 ended 38-3. If the Saints can play their brand of football, they could come out on top and be the first team since the 2017 to beat a single team 3 times in one season. The last team to do this? The Saints, who swept the Carolina Panthers. With that said, here are my 3 keys for the Saints to take home another win against the Buccaneers.
Keep Alvin Kamara Involved
Last week Alvin Kamara had a pretty impressive game all things considered. He was going up against one of the better run defenses in the Chicago Bears, who he had already played earlier in the season so they had film on him. Alvin was 1 yard away from his second 100 yard rushing game this season, and really had an exceptional game when Drew Brees gave him the ball. It is also worth noting that in this game he had a season high in rushing attempts, with 23 of them. This was 1 rush more than his infamous 6 touchdown game in Week 16 against the Minnesota Vikings. This should really show the Saints coaching that he needs to be more utilized in playoff games, as he can clearly produce in big moments. His statline in the Wild Card Round looked as such:
- 23 rushes for 99 yards and a touchdown
- 2 receptions for 17 yards (100% catch rating)
- 1 fumble recovery (botched handoff by Brees)
- Only 70% of offensive snaps
Both times the New Orleans Saints have played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this year, Kamara has had some impressive stats as well. While not as hugely impactful, he was also underutilized. His combined stats for those two games looked like this:
- 21 rushes for 56 yards and 2 touchdowns
- 10 receptions for 60 yards and 1 touchdown
- 0 fumbles, higher than 60% catch rating in both games
- Only took 66% of offensive snaps Week 1, and 51% in Week 9
If the coaching staff can just give Kamara the ball 15 or more times on the ground, there is a high chance he will produce big time yards and touchdowns. Getting him involved in this game is a major key to watch for throughout the day.
Big Game From the Secondary Unit
This may be the most important one of the night, as it is a huge point to watch. Being able to shut down 3 extremely talented receivers at once is not only a challenge, it is near impossible. Add a big play tight end into that mix and you are looking at a matchup nightmare. The matchups we will likely be seeing throughout the night are as follows:
- Saints CB Marshon Lattimore vs Buccaneers WR Mike Evans
- Saints CB Janoris Jenkins vs Buccaneers WR Chris Godwin
- Saints CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson vs Buccaneers WR Antonio Brown
- Saints LB Alex Anzalone or Demario Davis vs Buccaneers TE Rob Gronkowski
I would say the most interesting matchup out of these 4 will be CGJ vs AB, as it is two extremely passionate players going against each other. Not that the other players are not passionate, but these two are very outspoken on the field. If CGJ can hold Antonio Brown to small gains and not huge chunk plays, that would greatly benefit the Saints. Marshon Lattimore almost always has great games against Mike Evans. Janoris against Godwin will also be an interesting one. Janoris will have to be on his “A” game against Chris, as this is a huge matchup for him, and will likely be one not favoring him.
Keep Tom Brady on the Ground
Finally, we have another one that will be an interesting one to witness. The Buccaneers will still be without starting center A.Q. Shipley, which is a huge hit to the offensive line. They will also be without starting right guard Alex Cappa, who suffered an ankle fracture against the Washington Football Team. This opens up room for the Saints to rush through the right side of the line, as it is struggling for the most part. Tristan Wirfs has been a solid piece for sure, but he cannot make up for the missing starting center and guard on his side.
With that said, this will be good news for Cameron Jordan and Sheldon Rankins, who did very well against the Buccaneers last time. With Trey Hendrickson falling back into the rotation as well, this will be great news for the front-7. If they can continually get pressure into Tom Brady’s pocket and knock him down, that will be huge for the teams success.
Related Article: Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Three Keys vs New Orleans Saints
What do you think the New Orleans Saints need to do to come out on top? Leave a comment down below and let me know!
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