Florida Football Friday: Buccaneers Host Saints in Primetime

by Mike Ferguson

When the New Orleans Saints beat the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Halloween, it appeared as though New Orleans may take control of the NFC South.

Since then however, the teams have gone in vastly different directions. They’ll meet Sunday in primetime.

The loss of quarterback Jameis Winston did not help as the Saints had lost five straight games prior to last week’s 30-9 win over the New York Jets. At 6-7, New Orleans is currently tied for the final playoff spot in the NFC.

Quarterback Taysom Hill had his best game of the season last week, accounting for 258 total yards and two touchdowns. Running back Alvin Kamara is the guy to watch for the New Orleans offense. He leads the team with eight total touchdowns.

While New Orleans has struggled, Tampa Bay has flourished. The Buccaneers have won four straight games, including a 33-27 overtime thriller over the Buffalo Bills last week. At 10-3, the Buccaneers are fighting for home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Quarterback Tom Brady is the straw that stirs the drink for the Tampa Bay offense while Chris Godwin and Mike Evans make for a talented duo of wide receivers.

Defensively, the Saints have been a little better than Tampa Bay this season. New Orleans doesn’t generate a lot of pressure, but Demario Davis is a tackling machine. Malcolm Jenkins brings veteran leadership while interceptions leader P.J. Williams helped seal the 36-27 victory in the last meeting with an interception return for a touchdown against Brady.

Devin White, Levonte David and Shaquil Barrett are the guys to watch for the Tampa Bay defense. The 36 points scored by New Orleans on Oct. 31 is the most allowed by Tampa Bay all season.

The Saints have won the last six regular season meetings, but Tampa Bay did knock the Saints out of the playoffs with a 30-20 road victory in the Divisional round last season. Sunday’s contest begins at 8:20 p.m. ET and airs nationally on NBC.

Prediction: Tampa Bay 31, New Orleans 15

Other Scores Across the State

NFL

New York Jets (3-10) at Miami Dolphins (6-7)
Sunday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

The Miami Dolphins are dealing with some COVID-19 issues, but have won five straight games. During their winning streak, the Dolphins have allowed just four total touchdowns. Miami is looking for its fourth straight win over the New York Jets.
Prediction: Miami 20, N.Y. Jets 13

Houston Texans (2-11) at Jacksonville Jaguars (2-11)
Sunday, Dec. 19 at 1 p.m. ET (CBS)

Sunday’s contest in Jacksonville will feature the AFC’s worst two teams. The Houston Texans opened the season with a win over Jacksonville and have won seven straight in the series. The Jacksonville Jaguars will be playing their first game since firing head coach Urban Meyer after a controversial and tumultuous tenure.
Prediction: Jacksonville 23, Houston 17

Mike Ferguson is the managing editor for Fifth Quarter. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.

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