Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (1-3 SU, 1-3 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date and Time: Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 1:00PM EST
Where: Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana
by Scott, NFL Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: TB +12/NO -12
Over/Under Total: 48
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On Sunday at the Superdome, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take on the New Orleans Saints in a key NFC South matchup. While the Saints are exponentially more esteemed than the Bucs, both teams come into week five with a 1-3 mark. Its more deflating for the Saints, whose expectations were higher. On Sunday night, they absorbed a 38-17 flogging the hands of Dallas. Tampa Bay, meanwhile, enters this on the heels of a gutty comeback win at Pittsburgh on Sunday.
Tampa Bay would be looked at in a different light if they just laid down against Pittsburgh to fall to 0-4. The comeback win throws a different light on the Bucs. Three of their four games have been decided by 6 or less points and they might not be quite as bad as one might think. Josh McCown got off to a slow start before injuring his thumb. Now its Mike Glennons turn and the second-year NC State product has had his moments. Its just that most people have only seen Tampa once this season and that was in a high-visibility Thursday night 56-14 battering at the hands of Atlanta. Besides that, theyve been in every game.
New Orleans lost their first two games in heartbreaking fashion. Week one saw the Falcons come back to score an overtime win. Then they lost at Cleveland on a last-second field goal. They followed that with a win over the Vikings, before Sunday nights one-sided mauling at the hands of the Cowboys.
A Saints optimist would say the first two games easily could have gone their way. Drew Brees is still excellent, working with a dangerous cast of weapons, including a somewhat-resurgent running game, along with the addition of receiver Brandin Cooks to add to an already deep repertoire of talent. The Saints will be fine.
A Saints pessimist could point to a defense that more closely resembles its horrid 2012 form, rather than the respectable unit it had become in 2013. They had nothing to counteract the Dallas attack and were basically run over in all facets of the game. Perhaps even more alarming is the lack of clutch-play shown in the two close losses to Atlanta and Cleveland. Atlanta was able to twice get in FG position late to win and its hard to shake the image of Cleveland QB Brian Hoyer marching down the field like he was a prime Joe Montana to set up the game-winner.
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Tampas road win over the Steelers offered a glimpse into how new coach Lovie Smith sees things developing for this team. Mike Glennon went over 300 yards, making good use of rookies WR Mike Evans and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, as well as Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy, who popped out of nowhere on Sunday with 99 yards on 6 catches. Unfortunately for Tampa, Evans will miss the next few weeks. And the run-game has been an afterthought so far. Bobby Rainey is doing well when he gets the touches and maybe Doug Martin can warm up to the task after being hurt and struggling early on. But lets face it, this offense is nothing to get excited about.
The Tampa D has played well enough in 3 of their 4 games this season–at home twice and at Pittsburgh last week. But they got smoked in the Edward Jones Dome against Atlanta and you wonder whats in store against an irritated Saints team that is chomping at the bit to right the ship. in the Bucs defense, however, their offense has been kept in check by better defenses than what the Saints are showing so far. New Orleans is applying almost no pressure on opposing quarterbacks and cant seem to make a big play, with only one forced turnover through 4 games. Tampa might actually be able to put up some points.
A huge lopsided loss on Sunday night might have people down on the Saints, but lets not forget that things are a little different in the Superdome. And thats especially the case when the Saints have their backs up against the wall, scratching and clawing to avoid a disastrous 1-4 start. But if they keep giving up points left and right and arent able to ever register a big stop, its not going to be easy.
From an injury standpoint, LT Terron Armstead, who left Sunday with a concussion, is listed as questionable. Tampa will be without Evans and S Dashon Goldson is listed as questionable with an ankle injury. If Armstead cant go, its another reason to feel hesitant about giving up 12 points on a 1-3 Saints team whose defense looks downright ragged. Sure, an urgent Saints team could explode in a spot like this. But with the Saints looking a few notches off their peak form and the Bucs coming into town with a good feeling, I look for Tampa Bay to keep within reach and cover the spread.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im taking the Tampa Bay Buccaneers plus 12 points.