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A Preview Of Week 6

When Tampa is running: The Bucs have yet to get the attack to be effective for more than a play here or a play there. I expect the increased carries for Graham and Blount will make all three backs get a little better. I don’t expect the Saints offense to have so many three and outs and turnovers that the Saints defense, allowing 4.1 ypc which is 13th but the league median, tires out and allows more running. Edge: New Orleans.
When Tampa is passing: Under the assumption that Mike Williams plays, Josh Freeman will evade the rush and complete many intermediate and a few deep throws. Fujita, Charles Grant and Darren Sharper’s absences are really being felt.  Edge: Tampa Bay.
When New Orleans is running: This certainly seems like a recipe for disaster for New Orleans. A turnover-forcing, hard-hitting defense against the inexperienced and rusty likes of Chris Ivory, Ladell Betts who lost a fumble last week and Julius Jones who has had fumble issues his whole career. Disregard all that for this game. It’s a divisional bout, and Sean Payton will find ways to get his offense working. Edge: even.
When New Orleans is passing: I’ve always considered the up-tempo, multi-formation passing attack to be the strength of this team since Payton arrived and the weather doesn’t seem to be an issue this week. Edge: Tampa Bay, almost strongly but those are some great weapons.

Prediction: Maybe I’m subversively influencing the outcomes of these games somehow. With the exception of their one loss, both other times I’ve picked against the Buccaneers, they’ve won. Tampa looks at this game as a great opportunity to get an early jump on another one of their division rivals. Saints-Bucs is not just another game. I think Sean Payton looks at this as a game where he can start to regain some unpredictability and power on both sides of the ball. The Saints’ offense has been doing its thing for five years now and has successfully inserted new players every year or so. Tampa’s offense is still feeling itself out. The Saints lack of defense will keep this game close. I just think the offensive mind of Sean Payton will find ways to pin Ruud, Grimm, and Piscitelli against fast targets with moves. Saints 37, Bucs 24.

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