Bucs must prove they can beat New Orleans

by Gary Shelton on September 17, 2022

in general

Saturday, 4 a.m.

If you a fan of the Tampa Bay Bucs, and you live a bad life, the New Orleans Superdome is where you go when you die.

It is Hell's outhouse. It is Dracula's trash can. It is a land of broken dreams and unattainable goals. It is a place where, too often, goals have disappeared.

It is hollow, antiseptic and loud.

And, yeah, the Tampa Bay Bucs hate it.

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The Saints have beaten the Bucs the last seven times they have played them in the regular season. five of the last seven games in New Orleans. Granted, the Bucs won the biggest game between the teams -- a 30-20 win on their way to the Super Bowl two seasons ago -- but the Saints have often had their way with the Bucs.

Even last year, when the Saints won just nine games, they swept the Bucs. Against Tampa Bay, New Orleans has often been at its best. Against New Orleans, the Bucs have struggled.

Part of it is the matchups. Against Mike Evans, Marshon Lattimore has been at his best. Against the Bucs' offensive line, Cameron Jordan has been a force. Drew Brees was great, but even after he retired, the Saints' quarterbacks have turned into stars against the Bucs.

So here's the question: Will this week be any different?

Hey, if you judge on their results from Week One, when the Bucs dominated the Cowboys and the Saints struggled to beat the Falcons, it should be.

Still, the Bucs' offense sputtered at times, and the Saints are still the Saints, and the Dome is still the Dome.

The Bucs will tell you that their offense has work to do. The defense looked better, but can it continue to do so against Alvin Kamara ,Taysom Hill and Michael Thomas. With quarterback Jameis Winston, the Saints have big-strike capability.

For the Bucs, much of the challenge will be to continue to run the ball as they did last week and let Brady operate in manageable positions.

Still, the Bucs haven't done that lately.

And until they do, they will continue to feel like an underdog in this series.

Prediction: New Orleans 20, Tampa Bay 19.

In other NFL games:

Baltimore 28, Miami 27.

San Francisco 21, Seattle 10.

Cincinnati 30, Dallas 7.

L.A. Rams 31, Atlanta 14.

New England 24, Pittsburgh 17.

And in the college games:

Florida 41, USF 0.

Miami 21, Texas A&M 17.

Oklahoma 37, Nebraska 20.

Oregon 34, BYU 20.

Penn State 20, Auburn 10.

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