It is finally upon us, ladies, gentlemen, and bettors. The NFL season has come out of hibernation and is back on our TV screens. The season kicked off Thursday night in primetime with a premium matchup. The reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs beat up on Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans, 34-20. The score was closer than the actual level of competition.
On Sunday, the NFL brings us the first day with a full slate of hardcore matchups. Highlighting those gamess is an NFC South battle between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Saints are coming off of an NFC Wild Card loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
The Bucs didn’t fare as well in the NFC South last season. They finished the regular season at 7-9 and missed the playoffs. The Division-Champion Saints didn’t need to make any massive roster additions to remain competitive this season. Tampa Bay, on the other hand, needed a shakeup, and that’s exactly what they did.
Tom-pa Bay Buccaneers
The legend, the future Hall of Famer, possibly the greatest quarterback to don an NFL jersey, Tom Brady, has made his way to Tampa Bay in 2020. The 20-year NFL veteran signed a two-year, $60 million contract this offseason. After moving on from Jameis Winston, Brady should be a pleasant change of pace for the Bucs faithful.
Brady won’t be the only newcomer to the Bruce Arians/Byron Leftwich offense. His former running mate, tight end Rob Gronkowski (who will also be enshrined in the Hall someday), decided he was healthy enough to come out of retirement and join Brady in Tampa Bay. Gronk looks to be in great shape and appears a bit lighter heading into the season. Expect excellence if he can stay healthy.
The “Buc” didn’t stop there either. Tampa Bay also recently signed former Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette is coming off a season that saw him total 1,674 all-purpose yards, with 1,152 rushing yards. It was Fournette’s second 1,000-plus-yard rushing season in his three-year career.
Same Old Saints
With a balanced roster and coaching staff, the New Orleans Saints didn’t need to overhaul the franchise this off-season. They return both coordinators and their head coach. New Orleans did bring in another offensive weapon for Drew Brees to target, Emmanuel Sanders, who signed with the Saints after spending last season with the San Francisco 49ers. Sanders will come out of the slot and pretty much everywhere else in Sean Payton and Pete Carmichael’s offensive scheme.
Look for Brees to come out of the gates firing against an adversary that he’s been facing for nearly two decades in Brady, who he will compete against at least four times over the next two seasons if both stay healthy.
Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray once again head up the Saints’ backfield. The NFL’s leading receiver from a season ago, Michael Thomas, will once again be on the outside, and inside, and wherever else Payton can think of to use him. It won’t be a surprise to see Brees and Thomas shatter more records this season.
Just Talk About the Odds, Man
Vegas has the Saints favored by 3.5 points headed into the weekend, closer than many thought it would be. It looks like the oddsmakers consider Brady’s chances of making this game a shootout much greater than if Winston were still at the helm. We do too.
The over/under is set at 48 points for the contest. Although both defenses have the potential to land in Top Ten this season, we also foresee this game being a showcase in offensive proficiency. It’ll be a new look for the Bucs, but unfortunately for them, the same result.
Take your cash and put it on the Saints by three and a half, add the over to that bet slip, because this game may see scoring into the fifties with these two exciting veteran quarterbacks going head to head (in their first divisional matchup no less). New Orleans wins this high-scoring affair by at least a touchdown.