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Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will travel to face Jameis Winston and the new-look New Orleans Saints in an NFC South showdown. NFL handicapper Matt MacKay is here to make his prediction.
ANALYSIS

New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prediction, Anytime Touchdown Scorer: Can Leonard Fournette Score?

New Orleans had Tom Brady's number twice in 2021, winning without Jameis Winston during both matchups. He will face his former team but do so with an improved wide receiving corps that will be needed with star running back Alvin Kamara trending in the wrong direction.

Who is the best bet to score a touchdown in a game where the Bucs have revenge on their mind? Here are our picks, predictions, and odds for Sunday's game between the New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

SAINTS VS. BUCCANEERS START TIME, WHERE TO WATCH, AND ODDS

  • Date: Sunday, September 18, 2022
  • Game Time: 1:00 pm ET
  • Where: Caesars Superdome
  • How to Watch: FOX

Click Here for Buccaneers vs. Saints Odds

New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Prediction

If we're going to focus on touchdowns, you can forget about the 9-0 field goal fest with Taysom Hill under center last season. The Saints played a massive spoiler during a prime-time win on the road in Raymond James Stadium, playing a clean game and forcing two Tampa Bay turnovers.

Let's turn our attention to the first matchup between the Saints and Bucs in 2021. This game had everything, including Winston's unfortunate ACL/MCL injury that forced Trevor Siemian under center to close out the nailbiter. Touchdowns were abundant during this game and Michael Thomas wasn't even on the field. The Saints relied on Alvin Kamara, Tre'Quan Smith, and Alex Armah to score touchdowns against a talented Bucs defense. The likely absence of Kamara this weekend means that Winston will need to dial it up for his revamped receiving corps.

Jarvis Landry and Michael Thomas combined for 17 targets against a bad Atlanta pass defense last week, while tight end Juwan Johnson wound up with the third-most targets (5) and turned it into two receptions for 43 yards. Thomas secured two touchdowns despite the limited yardage, finishing with five receptions for 57 yards on eight targets. Landry was the chunk play king for the Saints offense, commanding a team-high nine targets for seven receptions and 114 yards.

Tampa Bay cornerback Carlton Davis has a rivalry with Thomas and should be on him during most of the game, creating extended opportunities for Landry and rookie wideout Chris Olave. The Bucs are entering this game with a slew of injuries to its wide receiving corps and offensive line, while Brady is coming off of a pedestrian showing against a talented Dallas defense.

Michael Thomas was the only Saints player to find the end zone in a good matchup last week. Will he be able to replicate that performance against an improved defensive unit? Oddsmakers aren't expecting that to happen, giving Thomas +160 as an anytime touchdown scorer on Sunday. This makes me want to pivot off of the talented wideout to explore other options in this game.

As good as the Saints defense has been in the past, they were dreadful against Cordarrelle Patterson in Week 1, allowing him to finish with 120 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Drake London was the only receiving option who fared well against a rebuilt and uber-talented New Orleans secondary, with Tyrann Mathieu and Marcus Maye joining forces alongside Marshon Lattimore. The Bucs turned to Leonard Fournette to move the chains against a talented Dallas front-seven. Fournette ripped off 21 carries for 127 yards and will see an increased role in the Bucs' passing game without Chris Godwin.

Patterson and Fournette have both revived their careers in new locations. Fournette was explosive and will be leaned on in a hostile Superdome environment. He was bottled up against the Saints during both matchups in 2021, but Fournette will see several goal-line touches in an early battle for the NFC South crown.

Oddsmakers expect Fournette to get the job done and find the end zone, as he's the only player on either side valued as a favorite at -110 to score a touchdown. Take Fournette to score a touchdown in a game where Tampa Bay will need him more than ever before.

New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick

Article Author

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Matt is an avid writer, editor, and researcher. He enjoys analyzing the game within the game which is fantasy sports and sports betting. Music is another constant in his daily life. Matt loves spending time with his wife and three pets. He likes to read, listen to podcasts, and is constantly motivated to create the most accurate and engaging content in the sports betting industry.

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