BUCS : GOAL LINE STAND : SAINTS
By Leo Haggerty
Tampa Bay head down to The Big Easy to take on New Orleans Sunday. Kickoff for the the two National Football Conference South members is 1 PM.
The Saints, at 5-2, are leading the NFC South and riding a five game win streak. The Buccaneers, at 2-5, occupy the cellar in the NFC South. The Pewter Pirates are heading in the opposite direction in the midst of a four-game losing skid.
Can the Bucs beat Drew Brees & Company? Oh yeah and check out the four things I think Tampa Bay needs to accomplish to achieve victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
1ST & GOAL – MAKE BREES EARN IT
No big plays. This is essential for the Bucs to beat the Saints.
Drew Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history. In fact, at maybe 6-foot on a good day, #9 has done the most with the least when you look at his physical attributes.
With that being said, Tampa Bay needs to make the Saints offense earn every yard. Make New Orleans have go the length of the field on double-digit drives. No explosive runs or passes. Bend but don’t break.
That will give the Buccaneers defense a chance to get a third-down stop or a turnover as well as possibly a New Orleans penalty that negates the drive.
2ND & GOAL – SPECIAL TEAMS MUST BE SPECIAL
This is the week P Bryan Anger must be a weapon. What do I mean by that? Check out below for that answer
There will be times where the Bucs offense stalls and the punt is in order. It is imperative that #9 “flips the field” and forces the Saints to start their drives at their own 20-yard lane or farther from the Tampa Bay end zone.
Giving the ball to Bress & Company in a short field situation is a recipe for disaster. Anger can make sure that doesn’t happen by pinning the Saints deep in their own end on every occasion.
3RD & GOAL – ROLL A 24 BY GETTING #11 & #13 INVOLVED EARLY
This week’s game plan must include plays early in the game to take advantage of the size of WR Mike Evans and WR Desean Jackson’s speed. That will pay huge dividends as the game progresses.
QB Jameis Winston needs to get the ball to #13 and #11 as soon as he can. This will not allow the Saints to roll coverage in the direction of one of those receivers because the other is burning them in man coverage situations.
By getting Evans and Jackson involved early, that will allow #3 to look for his bookend TE combination of Cameron Brate and O.J Howard in the middle of the field. That’s because the Saints defense will be stretched from sideline to sideline.
Those areas will open up only if Evans and Jackson are getting the football. If they aren’t, the New Orleans defense will be able to clog the middle passing lanes so I look for the Pewter Pirates offense to exploit their “24” game plan by getting the pigskin early to #11 and #13.
4TH & GOAL – GET OFF THE FIELD ON D
This may, and should be, the number one goal for the Bucs defense. When the Tampa bay defense has a chance to “make a play” on third down, the Pewter & Red defenders need to be successful a lot more time than not.
The mantra of DC Mike Smith’s charges this week needs to be stop drives. The more chances you give the guy wearing #9 in the other color jersey, the more chances he has of putting up points on the scoreboard.
The Saints are going to score. That’s a given. The Bucs just need to keep them in the very low 20s to have a shot at coming away with a victory.
Here’s my call. Bucs 26-23 in OT with a long Patrick Murray field goal to seal the deal.
Will I be right? Only time will tell so meet you at the TV at 1.