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Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints Pick.
New Orleans Saints (9-0 6-3 ATS) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8 3-6 ATS) NFL Week 11, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL 1 PM EST Sunday November 22, 2009 on FOX
by Jason Green at Predictem.com
Point Spread: Buccaneers +11.5 / Saints -11.5
This Sunday the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the undefeated New Orleans Saints. It is not surprising that the Bucs are in the basement of the NFC South, as they have given up the most points and have scored the fewest points in the division. The Saints are the last undefeated team in the NFC and unlike the last few seasons QB Drew Brees has not had to carry the team, as New Orleans has a legit rushing offense and a decent defense. Even though the Bucs are only 1-8 they did beat the solid Green Bay Packers 2 weeks back and almost the beat the Miami Dolphins last week. To say this game is not a good match up for the Bucs is like saying Peyton Manning is a decent QB. Major understatement, as the Saints have the league’s top-ranked offense and the Bucs have the league’s 29th ranked defense. However, the Bucs are playing better since Josh Freeman became the starting QB and the Saints barely beat the weak Rams in their last game.
Last week the Bucs lost to the Miami Dolphins 23-25 while the Saints kept a clean sheet by the St. Lois Rams 28-23.
In their loss to the Dolphins last week the Bucs had pretty even stats with Miami in terms of total yards, passing yards, and rushing yards. Rookie QB Josh Freeman rallied the Bucs from a 4th quarter deficit for the 2nd straight game, but the Bucs’ D allowed the Dolphins to drive down the field with only a minute remaining and kick a game-winning FG. Both teams played a sloppy game, but especially the Bucs, as they not only had 2 turnovers, but they committed 9 penalties for 77 yards. The Bucs were underdogs by 10 points so they covered the spread and the posted total of 42.5 was surpassed.
In their narrow win over the Rams this last Sunday the only reason they won was their rushing offense, which had 203 yards. The Saints had 3 turnovers, Drew Brees did not have a great game, and the Saints’ D allowed the Rams to pass for 293 yards and rush for 141 yards. For the first time in 5 times the Saints failed to score 30 points. Oh, well a win is a win, but the Saints still struggled to beat a weak team with only 1 win. The Saints were favored by 14 points so they did not cover the spread and the posted total of 50.5 was barely surpassed.
The Bucs’ D has to play better against the run this week, as in the loss to the Dolphins they allowed an average of 5.5 yards per carry.
The Saints have a huge game next week against the New England Patriots, but they can’t look past this game against an improving Bucs team.
Even though the Bucs are only averaging 98.8 rushing yards per game they have to play well in this game to keep the dynamic offense of the Saints on the sidelines. This season the Saints are averaging 426 yards per game and the Bucs are giving up an average of 379.2 yards per game.
The Saints are averaging 151.1 rushing yards per game and the Bucs have the 2nd worst rushing defense in the league giving up an average of 167.3 yards per game on the ground.
Rookie QB Josh Freeman (417 yds 4 TD 2 INT) has played well since becoming the starter a couple weeks back. He has to have a good game and even though he is a rookie he has a chance to do just that, as the Saints’ secondary has had problems this season giving up an average of 227.7 passing yards per game.
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Bucs’ RB Cadillac Williams (418 yds 3 TD) is only averaging 3.9 yards per carry and he has to pick up some yards to take some pressure off Freeman.
Tampa Bay’s D has to pressure Brees, but that will not be easy, as they only have 17 sacks this season.
The Bucs’ D has a tall order to contain Brees and the RB duo of Pierre
Thomas (492 yds 5 TD) and Mike Bell (439 yds 2 TD).
Jason’s Pick: I think the Saints learned their lesson last week, as they may have taken the Rams for granted and it almost cost them their first loss. Even though the Bucs have played decent in the last couple of weeks they will not be overlooked by the Saints, as Drew Brees and the Saints offense should have a field day against the weak Bucs’ D. Look for the Saints to easily win this and cover the spread, as they will still be undefeated when they host the Patriots next week in a game that may be a preview of the Super Bowl.