NFL Playoff Odds & Preview: Will It Be Three Strikes and Out For Tom Brady?
No personnel move in the NFL betting came with more fanfare than Tom Brady signing with the Tampa Bay Bucs. And you can’t really argue that he hasn’t delivered. Brady finished third in the league in passing yards, and he seemed to get it down the field when he had weapons.
In fact, coach Bruce Arians gave him more weaponry than he’d had in years. And the Bucs have been a high-powered offense. That is, unless they have been facing the New Orleans Saints.
BetOnline customers who have watched the Bucs closely have noticed that Brady hasn’t gotten very far when encountered with the guys in black and gold. The Bucs have been turned back in no uncertain terms. And it would be devastating to suffer a season sweep.
The Bucs and Saints meet up in the NFC Divisional Round on Sunday night. The game kicks off at 6:40 PM ET at the Superdome.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Divisional Odds
|Buccaneers||+3 (-105)||52 (-110)||+140|
|Saints||-3 (-115)||52 (-110)||-160|
Saints dominated the two meetings
The Bucs had a tough draw in the first week of the season, as they had to travel to the Big Easy. Much was anticipated from Brady. But as it turned out he was hitting a few speed bumps.
He was intercepted twice. One of those was brought back for a touchdown by New Orleans defensive back Janoris Jenkins. The truth is, the Bucs actually outgained the Saints 310-271. But there was a 17-point margin until only a few minutes left in the game, which ended 34-23.
The idea after that one was that Brady was still getting used to his teammates, and didn’t have the benefit of a pre-season. Surely things would be better for Tampa Bay next time around.
But that was not the case. The Buccaneers never got untracked; they fell behind to the tune of 31-0 at the half. At that point it was truly over. Drew Brees hit 26 of his 32 passes and threw for four TD’s. Meanwhile, Brady had 209 passing yards on 38 attempts (that’s 5.5 yards per attempt, if you’re doing the math) and was intercepted three times. Tampa Bay ran it five times for eight yards and had 194 net yards on the day. Final score: 38-3. And fewer excuses this time.
What the Bucs will bank on
Tampa Bay will lean on the proposition that they are a more cohesive offensive unit right now. Brady has averaged 379.5 yards over his last four games, with 12 touchdowns and just one interception. He had 381 yards against Washington in last week’s 31-23 playoff win. And the reason we mention that is because it came against a real defense.
Teams like the Rams and Bears (not to mention the Saints) have slowed Tampa Bay down considerably. And Washington’s defense appeared to be in that class. But Brady seemed to do what he wanted.
The Bucs have their offensive assets in place. And that cast has added wide receiver Antonio Brown and running back Leonard Fournette. So they have reason to feel optimistic.
What will the Buccaneers do differently with regard to their game plan? Is something reversible, or does Dennis Allen (defensive coordinator) have the scheme to keep Brady in check?
Brees hit 55 of 67 passes in the two meetings, so it is clear that the Bucs have trouble with his short passing game. Alvin Kamara had a bout with COVID-19 (or at least a positive test). But he came back last week. Michael Thomas is once again at the disposal of Brees after some injuries.
We’re not sure there is any reason to back the Buccaneers at this number.
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