The New Orleans Saints will reprise hostilities with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers when they descend on the defending Super Bowl champions at Raymond James Stadium. Earlier this season, the Saints stunned the Buccaneers at home, delivering one of the biggest upsets of the season. However, the best sportsbooks aren’t expecting a repeat of that result this time around.
As things currently stand, the Saints are catching 11 points on the NFL odds board and the total is set to 46.5 points. Early betting trends show the public is largely backing the Buccaneers to redress the balance in this division rivalry with an emphatic win.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday, December 19, 2021 – 08:20 PM EST at Raymond James Stadium
New Orleans Saints Bounce Back
The Saints bounced back into the win column in more than a month half after beating the New York Jets in Week 14. The win snapped a five-game losing streak that marked the worst run of form in the Sean Payton era and reignited New Orleans’ flimsy playoff hopes.
The Saints couldn’t have come up against the Jets at a more opportune time. One of the league’s worst teams, the Jets are playing out the string of the season. They put up little resistance as Taysom Hill and the Saints’ offense dismantled them en route to a 30-9 win. In hindsight, the closing 4.5-point spread across multiple sports betting sites looks laughable right now. The Saints covered the points with plenty to spare in the 21-point margin of victory.
Overall, the Saints are 6-7 on the season. They’re tied with four other teams on the same record for the No. 7 seed in the NFC – with the Washington Football Team having the inside track on the coveted spot right now. The Philadelphia Eagles, Atlanta Falcons, and Minnesota Vikings are ahead in the queue.
If the Saints hope to make the playoffs, this weekend’s clash with the Buccaneers is a must-win game. It’s a daunting task to pull off at Raymond James Stadium. Beating the Jets might give the Saints that little bit of a confidence boost. It would have been an entirely different prospect if the Saints were headed to Florida riding a six-game losing streak indeed.
Bucs Heap More Misery on the Bills
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers edged the Bills 33-27 in overtime, but the game should never have been as close as it turned out. The Buccaneers are 10-3-0 on the season.
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers were on fire in the first half and reeled off 24 points to take the commanding 24-3 victory. It looked like Bruce Arians’ side would romp to another lopsided victory and heap more misery on the Buffalo Bills, who’ve lost their way in recent weeks.
Credit should be given where it is due. Josh Allen and the Bills didn’t give up or go quietly away. They visibly perked up in the second half and made a fist of it. Well, Allen did in a big way. He threw the kitchen sink at the Buccaneers’ defense, doing just about everything all by himself as he threw for 300+ yards passing and rushed for 100+ yards rushing when all was said and done.
In overtime, the Buccaneers settled themselves and took control of the game again. Brady, with the poise born from years of experience and success, fashioned a drive that led to a game-winning touchdown in the blink of an eye.
Following Sunday’s win over the Bills and Arizona’s loss to the Rams on Monday Night Football, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers moved into second place in the NFC standings, behind the Green Bay Packers. Arizona dropped to the No.3 spot.
NFL Predictions and Picks
When the Saints beat the Buccaneers, Jameis Winston was the starter. Although Winston didn’t finish the game – Trevor Siemian did and helped the Saints clinch the victory – the Saints were a relatively good team then. Now, not so much. The Saints offense isn’t quite humming as it did when it served up some of the early season scalps and eyebrow-raising wins, while the defense has taken a step back.
A slew of injuries have contributed to New Orleans’ struggles, and they’ve not quite recovered fully.
A win over the Jets is all fine and dandy. But it’s not much to hang one’s hat on. The gap in quality between the Jets and Buccaneers is massive and the Saints are likely in for a rude awakening.
The 11-point spread is hefty, but the Buccaneers are playing lights out. They did drop the ball last week against a relatively good Buffalo Bills team, but that shouldn’t happen in this game. Back the Buccaneers to keep rolling at home.
NFL Pick: Buccaneers -11 (-110) at DraftKings