Last week, New Orleans was heavily favored at home versus the 1-7 Falcons. Despite all of the signs pointing towards the Saints blowing out the Falcons, Atlanta was able to pull off the upset by the score of 26-9.
Even with the loss, the Saints still sit atop the NFC South with a 7-2 record. While New Orleans holds a comfortable two-game lead, they will look to get back on track offensively against the Buccaneers on Sunday.
The Buccaneers currently have a 3-6 record under Bruce Arians and always tend to give the Saints a tough game every year. With that being said, here are four reasons why the Saints will defeat the Buccaneers in Week 11.
4. The Saints’ offensive line will be better
One of the few reasons why New Orleans fell to the Falcons in Week 10 was because of their inability to protect Drew Brees. Before Week 10, the Saints’ offensive line had only surrendered 12 sacks to opposing defenses.
Then, last Sunday, against an anemic pass rush of the Falcons, Brees was sacked six times. The pressure created by Atlanta made it tough for the Saints’ offense to ever get into a rhythm.
Even after allowing six sacks in Week 10, the Saints still have only given up 18 sacks (ninth-fewest in the NFL). The offensive line will play a lot better on Sunday to make up for their abysmal performance in Week 10.
3. Drew Brees is poised to bounce back
With the offensive line playing better, Brees is poised to bounce back versus the Buccaneers. In his second game back from injury, the veteran signal-caller finished with 287 yards and zero touchdowns versus the Falcons last week.
Luckily for Brees, he will get a chance to face a decimated Tampa Bay secondary in Week 11. The Buccaneers recently released former first-round pick, Vernon Hargreaves, leaving them thin at the position.
The duo of Brees and Michael Thomas should see plenty of success against the 32nd ranked pass defense in the NFL.
2. Sean Payton will deploy a heavy dosage of Alvin Kamara
While the Saints were defeated by Atlanta last Sunday, it was telling that Alvin Kamara was scarcely utilized in the game. Kamara finished the game with only 12 touches and totaled 74 yards from scrimmage.
There’s no doubt that New Orleans’ offense is better when Kamara is heavily involved in the game plan. Given that, Sean Payton will make a concerted effort to get his elusive running back going early and often.
The Buccaneers only allow 77.8 rushing yards per game (fewest in the NFL). But Kamara is able to be effective in multiple ways when he has the ball in his hands.
1. The Saints’ defense will pressure Jameis Winston into making mistakes
The Saints were unable to get after Matt Ryan last Sunday, sacking him just once. In light of that, New Orleans’ pass rush should be able to return to form against the Buccaneers in Week 11.
The Buccaneers have allowed 34 sacks (fifth-most in the NFL) and Jameis Winston has been under duress all season. When Winston is under pressure, he tends to make mental errors and give the ball to the defense.
Over the first 10 weeks, Winston has thrown 14 interceptions (most in the NFL) and has fumbled it 10 times. Cameron Jordan and company could have a sack party on Sunday.