Saints (10-2) at Bucs (5-7)

USA TODAY Sports Weekly - - Week 14 Matchups - Luke Easter­ling

Sun­day, 1 p.m. ET, Ray­mond James Sta­dium, Tampa

TV: Fox

Danny Sheri­dan’s line: by 8

Saints’ keys to vic­tory: The Saints’ sur­pris­ing loss to the Cow­boys came be­cause of a lack of phys­i­cal­ity in the trenches. The of­fen­sive line failed to give QB Drew Brees enough time and space, and the de­fen­sive line was beaten up by a dom­i­nant ground game. DE Cameron Jor­dan and DT Shel­don Rank­ins will need to im­pose their will on Tampa Bay’s in­con­sis­tent block­ers, while coach Sean Pay­ton will need to de­sign plenty of pass con­cepts that get the ball out of Brees’ hand quickly. This offense is loaded with ex­plo­sive play­mak­ers such as WR Michael Thomas and RB Alvin Ka­mara, and they need to be force-fed as many touches as pos­si­ble.

Buc­ca­neers’ keys to vic­tory: The Bucs’ big­gest strug­gles have been turn­ing the ball over and fail­ing to make big plays on de­fense. Those ar­eas have been greatly im­proved the past two weeks. QB Jameis Win­ston is avoid­ing poor de­ci­sions, and the de­fense over­came a two-month take­away drought to force six turnovers over the past two games. The Bucs will need to control the clock with a bal­anced at­tack that in­cludes plenty of RB Pey­ton Bar­ber and con­tin­ued con­tri­bu­tions from WRs Mike Evans, Chris God­win and Adam Humphries.

Matchup to watch: Saints DE Cameron Jor­dan vs. Buc­ca­neers OT Dono­van Smith: Smith gave up a pair of sacks and was called for mul­ti­ple hold­ing penal­ties dur­ing Week 13. The un­der­rated Jor­dan should be sali­vat­ing at this matchup.

Who wins? The Saints are an­gry and ea­ger to make a state­ment.

Saints, 38-34 Saints SAINTS SCHED­ULE

L ...... Tam­paBay ...... 48-40 W ...... Cleve­land ...... 21-18 W .. at At­lanta .. 43-37 (OT) W ...atN.Y.Gi­ants ...33-18 W .... Wash­ing­ton .... 43-19 Oct.14 ............. Bye ............. W .... atBal­ti­more .... 24-23 W ...atMin­nesota ...30-20 W ...... L.A.Rams ...... 45-35 W .... at Cincin­nati .... 51-14 W ..... Philadel­phia ..... 48-7 W ......... At­lanta ......... 31-17 L ......... at Dal­las ......... 13-10 Dec. 9 ... at Tampa Bay ... 1 Dec. 17 .. at Carolina .. 8:15 Dec. 23 .. Pitts­burgh .. 4:25 Dec. 30 ...... Carolina ....... 1

W...at New Or­leans... 48-40 W ..... Philadel­phia ..... 27-21 L ....... Pitts­burgh ....... 30-27 L ........ at Chicago ........ 48-10 Oct. 7 ................ Bye ............... L ........ at At­lanta ........ 34-29 W... Cleve­land... 26-23 (OT) L ...... at Cincin­nati ...... 37-34 L ....... at Carolina ....... 42-28 L ....... Wash­ing­ton ....... 16-3 L ..... at N.Y. Gi­ants ..... 38-35 W ..... San Fran­cisco ..... 27-9 W ......... Carolina ......... 24-17 Dec. 9 ..... New Or­leans ..... 1 Dec. 16 .... at Bal­ti­more .... 1 Dec. 23 ........ at Dal­las ........ 1 Dec. 30 ........ At­lanta ......... 1

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.