New Orleans Saints (5-2 2-5 ATS) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-2 4-4 ATS)
In a marquee NFC South matchup on Sunday night the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints where first place in the division is on the line. The Bucs are a 5-point favorite with the total sitting at 51.5.
The public has slightly backed the Bucs in this game, as they opened as a 4.5-point favorite, and as of Thursday are a 5-point favorite.
These teams met in Week 1 in the Big Easy where the Saints beat the Bucs 34-23. Since that loss, the Bucs have gone 6-1 and they are riding a three-game winning streak.
The Saints lost their next two games after the Week 1 win over Tampa but have reeled off four straight wins.
The Bucs are the fourth highest-scoring team in the league, the Saints rank 7th in ppg, and they have a new weapon in WR Antonio Brown, who will be active in this game.
Both teams are coming off narrow wins with the Saints beat the Chicago Bears 26-23 in OT and the Bucs beat the New York Giants on a controversial ending where a pass interference flag on a 2-point conversion was overturned.
The Saints covered in their opening win over the Bucs and have covered the spread against them in four straight games.
Brees is Not Done
After many people thought Drew Brees had his best days behind him he has played well this season. He has two TD and no INT in each of his last two games ranks sixth in the league in QBR, and passed for 160 yards with two TD and no INT in the Week 1 win over Tampa Bay.
Alvin Kamara has put up solid numbers on the season and in the win over Chicago rushed for 65 yards and had 96 receiving yards. He was bottled up with only 16 rushing yards against the Bucs in Week 1 but did have 51 receiving yards and a TD.
Kamara leads the Saints in receiving yards and Emmanuel Sanders has 304 receiving yards with 225 of them coming in the last two games. Star WR Michael Thomas has not played since the win over the Bucs in the opening game and is a question mark for this game. Kamara and Brees are also nursing injuries and missed some practice time this week but each will go in this big game.
Kamara will be facing a Tampa Bay run defense that leads the league but did give up 101 rushing yards in the win over the Giants in their last game.
The Bucs were a double-digit favorite on Monday night in the win over the Giants and had some luck when the pass interference flag was overturned, which avoided the game going to OT.
In the win over New York Tom Brady passed for 279 yards with two TD and no INT and he has nine TD and no picks in his last four games. Two of his four INT on the season came in the opening loss to the Saints.
Leonard Fournette and Ronald Jones II combined for 75 rushing yards in the win over the Giants but neither averaged over 3.5 yards per carry.
Brown joins a WR corps that is a solid one for the Bucs with the likes of Mike Evans and Scotty Miller. Chris Godwin missed the last game with a\ finger injury and is questionable for this game.
Brady and company will be facing a New Orleans defense that has had their issues against the pass but does have 19 sacks on the season. The offensive line of Tampa has been great this season and did not allow a sack for two straight games before allowing two in the win over the Giants.
While the Saints are 5-2, overall, they have failed to cover the spread in five of their last six games. The Bucs are only 2-5-1 ATS in their last eight games facing a team with a winning record.
Brees and Kamara are banged up and head to Tampa to face a hot Bucs team. Brady had two picks in the season-opener against New Orleans but that will not happen in this game. The Bucs will have a good all-around game this Sunday night and while they will not blow out the Saints they will win and cover in their house.
PICK: Buccaneers -4