Week 8 saw the Buccaneers lose their fourth game in a row as 2017 continued to be a disappointment for all involved. The Carolina Panthers came to Tampa and opened the scoring with a one-yard Jonathan Stewart run. The Panthers defense then locked the game down and kept the Bucs out of the endzone for the entire 60 minutes. Eventually the Bucs would fall 17-3 to extend their misery.
New Orleans hosted the Chicago Bears last week, and while they scored via rookie running back Alvin Kamara on their opening drive, it was a labored 20-12 win for the Saints as Chicago’s defense frustrated Drew Brees and held them to just two third down conversions. The win ended up being marred by the non-touchdown and injury to Bears tight end Zach Miller, but it was the Saints’ fifth in a row and put them in a strong position within the division.
Keep your chin up
Four losses in a row for a team that got all the “next step” buzz in the preseason can be pretty demoralizing, especially when the core of your team is young.
Whatever the reasons for their poor start, Tampa Bay cannot let it overcome them and reduce their season to nothing. At 2-5 a run to the playoffs is very unlikely for the Bucs now, but they can take a first step to redeeming their season with a win in this game.
Jameis Winston had a terrible performance last week against Carolina, and while the Panthers defense is good, the wayward nature of his passes have raised concerns that his shoulder is not 100%. If he really still is effected by the injury that forced him out of the Cardinals game then Tampa will have a tough time keeping up with the Saints.
Looking after the ball has never been a strong suit for Jameis Winston, and it’s showing up again this year. Tampa have coughed up the ball 12 times this year, and while Cleveland have thrown off the curve, that is far too many in seven games. Conversely, New Orleans given away the ball just seven times and have a +4 turnover differential. Whichever offense can look after the ball in this one will have a big advantage.
Matchup to Watch: Marshon Lattimore vs Mike Evans
Saints’ rookie corner Marshon Lattimore has had a very good start to his NFL career, however he is yet to face someone as talented and physical as Mike Evans. With DeSean Jackson on the other side demanding safety help, Lattimore is likely to be left alone for long stretches of time against Winston’s favorite target.
Fantasy Tip: Saints WR Brandon Coleman
Willie Snead has been a non-entity this season, and Michael Thomas, Mark Ingram, and Alvin Kamara are all 100% owned. However, with a busy set of byes this week you need someone to play, and that someone could be Coleman. Tampa have struggled against #2 & #3 receivers this year, especially with second-year corner Vernon Hargreaves having issues in isolated coverage. If you need a receiver this week take a look at Coleman.
Betting Tip: Saints (-7)
In the Superdome with a good defense and Drew Brees it is hard to pick against the Saints. Give the points.
Prediction: Saints 34 – 20 Buccaneers
Tampa are in a rut, and that is never a good time to head to New Orleans. The Saints are rolling and have found a good defense for the first time in an age. With Cam Jordan and Marshon Lattimore performing brilliantly it is going to be tough for Tampa to keep up.
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