Tampa Bay Buccaneers @

New Orleans Saints

Sun, Jan 17
3:40 PM Pacific
Rotation: 307
Odds: New Orleans Saints -3, Total: 52

Game Analysis

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Tampa Bay (+3/+2.5) over NEW ORLEANS

Tom Brady is averaging 9.0 yards per pass play during his last five games after a shift in offensive approach by the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay used play action on 18% of passes before the bye week and have a 27% play action rate since week 14, including 33% last Saturday against Washington. Chris Godwin had five drops last week but I expect the slot receiver to be featured in this game. Godwin only had six total drops during his four-year career prior to the wild card round and offenses love to attack CB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson who is being targeted every 5.2 cover snaps in the slot – second most in the league among qualifying nickelbacks. Mike Evans is averaging just three receptions for 34 yards in his last four games versus New Orleans and the Saints will likely have Pro Bowl CB Marshon Lattimore shadow him again.

Edge defender Trey Hendrickson (13.5 sacks) missed the Saints’ previous game with a neck injury but Marcus Davenport is more than capable of shouldering Hendrickson’s workload again if he returns in a limited capacity. Davenport was injured in training camp and played through an elbow injury early in the season but has progressively getting more snaps and finished 13th in pass rushing efficiency last year. Henrickson and/or Davenport will line up across from LT Donovan Smith, who ranked 42 out of 55 qualifying tackles in pass blocking efficiency. Rookie RT Tristan Wirfs allowed just one sack in 651 pass blocking snaps and will limit Pro Bowl edge defender Cameron Jordan, who had just four pressures in two games versus the Buccaneers during the regular season. Right guard Alex Cappa left Saturday night’s game in the second half with an ankle fracture and he’ll be out according to Bruce Arians. It looks like backup guard Aaron Stinnie (46 career snaps) will get the start across from interior defender David Onyemata, who ranks 6th in pass rushing efficiency and should exploit Stinnie.

Drew Brees averaged just 5.1 air yards per attempt last week (third-lowest of the year) and 62.5% of his passing yards came after the catch. I do not expect Brees to be elevated by Sean Payton’s scheme to the same degree against an opponent as familiar as Todd Bowles’ defense. Michael Thomas averaged 10.4 yards per target in his return to the field but he could struggle in this game. Tampa Bay had Carlton Davis shadow Thomas earlier in the year and he held Thomas to just 5.2 yards per target in two games, but Davis hasn’t been used in shadow coverage since Tyreek Hill went for 204 yards and three TDs against Davis in week 12. The Buccaneers’ other option is Jamel Dean, who conceded just 0.68 yards per cover snap (4th). Edge defender Shaquil Barrett led the league with 76 pressures, 13 of which came in the two games against the Saints. However, I think New Orleans will be just as concerned with interior defender William Gholston (13% pressure rate) lined up across from LG Cesar Ruiz, who ranks 51st out of 58 qualifying guards in pass blocking efficiency.

Our model favors the Saints by just 1.9 points, with a predicted total of 51.3 points.

  • Team Stats
  • Game Log
  • Buccaneers
  • Saints


  • Pass Plays 40.6 41.8
  • Succ Pass Plays 49.1% 46.2%
  • Sack Rate 3.5% 7.2%
  • Int Rate 1.8% 2.5%
  • Deep Pass Rate 22.2% 15.0%
  • Big Pass Yards 41.8% 34.0%
  • NYPP 7.2 5.9


  • Rush Plays 23.4 22.4
  • RB YPR 4.1 3.2
  • Stuff Rate 17.0% 24.6%
  • Succ Rush Plays 47.2% 44.9%
  • Big Rush Yards 36.5% 35.9%
  • Yards Per Rush 4.0 3.6


  • All Snaps 64.1 64.2
  • Early Down Succ 51.4% 47.6%
  • Succ Rate 48.6% 45.7%
  • Big Yards Rate 41.8% 35.9%
  • Yards Per Play 6.1 5.1
  • Fumble Lost Rate 0.5% 0.9%
  • Time Per Play (sec) 27.1 28.9
  • Run Ratio 36.1% 34.7%
  • Starting Field Pos 31.1 27.8
  • Game Control 2.5 -2.5
  • Points 30.8 22.2
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