Chuck Cook, USA TODAY Sports
It’s still too early for season predictions, in my book. However, looking at Week 1 of the 2018 season, it doesn’t take too much to make a well-educated guess at the outcome. September 9th, the Saints will host the division opponent Bucs without their starting QB. While I’m comfortable saying that game will likely be a win for us, I’m holding out until I see who makes it through preseason roster cuts and potential injuries (knock on wood). Regardless, there are some surprising active streaks coming into the game that I think the Saints have the chance to swing. So, here are a few trends that New Orleans can buck against the Bucs.
The Saints have started the past four seasons winless.
I know I said that I’m not entirely comfortable predicting the outcome of games until the rosters are set, so I’m not saying that will break this streak. I am comfortable saying they probably will, though. The Saints have been dismal in openers since 2015 averaging 488 yards allowed in total offense over those four games. The Saints have the chance to change course by winning 2018’s season opener and starting 1-0 for the first time in four years.
The Saints defense has given up more than 400 total yards in season openers.
This goes hand and hand with the above trend. In each of the last four season openers the Saints have given up yardage totals of 470, 486, 427, and 568. If the Saints defense has improved still after vastly stepping up last season, there’s a good chance they hold the Bucs to less than 400 total yards of offense.
Drew Brees has never thrown for 400+ yards against Tampa Bay.
Right though? But check it out via PFR. The most yardage Brees has thrown for against the Bucs in 383 yards which was back in 2011. Now here’s the thing; Drew has thrown for 400 yards in 15 regular season games, so we know it’s well within his capabilities to do so against a struggling Tampa Bay defense. He just doesn’t have to anymore. With a historic run game behind him and an outstanding Oline in front of him, he might not need to put up 400+ passing yards to get past the Ryan Fitzpatick and his band of merry misfits. The caveat being Mark Ingram’s suspension, but I suspect that won’t be much of a big deal week 1. So this question isn’t “can he?” it’s more of a “will he?”
Michael Thomas has yet to catch a touchdown against Tampa Bay.
Crazy right? CGM has played in three of the four possible games against Tampa Bay so far in his career and had yet to find the endzone. He has gone for receiving totals of 65, 94, and 98 yards on 8, 6 and ,6 catches respectively. Just not yet a single touchdown. This is one I’m pretty comfortable saying will change on 9/9.
Ryan Fitzpatrick hasn’t thrown an INT against the Saints/Saints haven’t had a week 1 turnover since 2015/Marshon Lattimore hasn’t recorded an INT against Tampa
Granted, Ryan Fitzpatrick has only played one game against New Orleans and Lattimore only has two against Tampa, but still. I put all three of these together because they can all change course by Fitz simply throwing an interception to Marshon Lattimore in the season opener. Seems simple enough, but Fitzpatrick is an experienced vet who doesn’t have quite the same penchant for mistakes as his colleague Gropey McGropeface.(a.k.a. Crabby McCrablegs).
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