Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New Orleans Saints Point Spread – Pick Against the Spread – 31401

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11 SU, 6-9 ATS) vs. New Orleans Saints (10-5 SU, 7-8 ATS)
NFL Football Week 17
Date and Time: Sunday December 29th, 2014. 4:25PM Eastern
Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium New Orleans, L.A.
by Jay, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com

Point Spread: TB +13/NO -13
Over/Under Total: 47

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Last week the New Orleans Saints missed an opportunity
to clinch the NFC South with a tough 17-13 loss to the Carolina Panthers.
Now the Saints find their selves in a tricky situation heading into the
final week of the NFL season. At 10-5, the Saints need a win over the Tampa
Bay Buccaneers
this Sunday inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to
clinch a postseason berth. The Saints could actually recapture the NFC South
with a win and a Carolina loss or even miss the playoffs completely with
a loss and Arizona win. Therefore outside scenarios could have an impact
on New Orleans playoff destiny. Still, the only way the Saints can ensure
a playoff spot is to take care of business with a 4-11 SU Tampa Bay team
this Sunday.

The Saints have struggled recently by dropping 3 of their last 4 games. Surprisingly the offense has been held to a mere 12 points on average in each of those losses. Star quarterback Drew Brees tossed two picks in each of the last two games and has only thrown 1 touchdown pass in each of those losses as well. Brees is normally a touchdown throwing machine and the Saints are 8-2 SU this year in games where he throws multiple touchdown passes. Everyone understands how important momentum is at the end of the season. Therefore Coach Sean Peyton desperately needs to get his offense and Brees back on track. Otherwise even if the Saints make the postseason, their playoff run will be short lived.

Tampa Bay did a good job of containing the New Orleans offense when both teams met back in week 2. The Buccaneers defense sacked Brees 4 times and come up with two interceptions. In fact, Tampa Bay nearly pulled out the victory before giving up a game winning field goal as time expired in a 16-14 loss. Obviously a lot of things have changed in Tampa since that game. Former starting quarterback Josh Freeman is now in Minnesota and the Buccaneers have lost two starting running backs in Doug Martin and Mike James. Coach Greg Schiano suffered 8 straight losses before capturing a few wins midseason and even a win this Sunday may not be enough to keep his head coaching job secure.

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Still, Schiano is challenging the Buccaneers to treat this Sunday’s game as a ‘playoff’ game in hopes to get the most out of his team. Unfortunately, this week’s match-up with New Orleans does not fare well for Schiano. Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon has been mediocre at best since taking over the starting job behind center. More importantly the Buccaneers have not been able to run the football which is something they relied heavily on with both Doug Martin and Mike James. Since both tailbacks went down with season ending injuries, current starter Bobby Rainey has not been able to provide any consistency. The Buccaneers as a team have rushed for just 161 yards in their last 3 losses forcing Glennon to throw the football far more often than the team would like. This week Glennon will meet the 2nd best pass defense in the NFL in the Saints. Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan has the defense playing extremely well and I would expect that to continue given the match-up advantages they will have again this Sunday against the Bucs.

Jay’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Tampa Bay’s pass defense has been pretty average this year and they may play well early against the Saints. However I really expect the Saints defense will play really well and keep their offense on the field. Eventually Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston, and Kenny Stills will be too much to handle as the Saints offense capitalizes on the short field. I like the Saints -13. Also another strong play will be the under 47. I mentioned how well I expect the Saints defense to play and also the recent struggles of the New Orleans offense. It is also worth mentioning that the Saints have gone under the mark in 10 of their 11 NFC match-ups this year. Take the under 47.