Friday, July 20, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers-New Orleans Saints predictions from the Tampa Bay Times staff

Time to light up the scoreboard

Tom Jones, @tomwjones: The Bucs offense has scuffled recently. The running game has been grounded and they haven't put up tons of points. And tons of points might be what is needed today. Yes, the Bucs defense has played well recently, but Drew Brees and the Saints offense is always scary. The Bucs offense finally gets going and wins this one. Prediction: Tampa Bay 33-27.

This feels like a trap game

Thomas Bassinger, @tometrics: The Bucs are riding a four-game winning streak, having defeated quality opponents such as the Chiefs, Seahawks and Chargers. The Saints have lost three of four but have been playing close games all season, going 3-5 in one-score contests. The Bucs have gone 4-2. Maybe this comes down to the rookie kickers: The Saints' Wil Lutz has made 18 of 24 field goal attempts; Roberto Aguayo has made 15 of 22. Prediction: New Orleans 27-24.

Bucs find a way

Martin Fennelly, @mjfennelly: Another Sunday, another hopping house at Raymond James Stadium. Brees might throw for 900 yards, but the Bucs find a way because they have come too far to not find one. Jameis Winston rocks steady, the running game has a good day, the Bucs control the clock, Mike Evans does Mike Evans and the defense makes plays when it has to make them. The Bucs think they can beat anyone. Check the Saints off the list. Christmas Eve in New Orleans might be the problem. Prediction: Tampa Bay 30-27.

A wild-card qualifier

Greg Auman, @gregauman: New Orleans has won eight of nine against the Bucs, but at home, with the playoffs now in reach, Tampa Bay recognizes the magnitude of this game. Win this, and even with a loss at Dallas next week, the Bucs are in play for at least a wild card in the final two weeks of the season. Containing Brees might be the biggest challenge this Bucs defense has faced all year. Prediction: Tampa Bay 31-28

Could a big-game feel carry the Bucs?

Rick Stroud, @NFLStroud: Bucs have a chance to win their fifth straight game for the first time since their 2002 Super Bowl champion team. Brees (30 TDs) still is elite, but the Bucs should be able to score touchdowns against 26th ranked defense. A big-game feel at RJS should favor the Bucs if they get off to a quick start. Prediction: Tampa Bay 27-21.

The streak comes to an end

Ernest Hooper, @hoop4you: In the NFL, two things are difficult to maintain: long winning streaks and long losing streaks. It's uncommon to see teams win more than three in a row or lose more than three in a row. The Bucs' four-game winning streak is poised to come to an end, especially when you consider Brees doesn't tend to produce back-to-back bad games. Prediction: New Orleans 28-27.

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