Brett Duke/Associated Press
Davenport: This third meeting between the Drew Brees-led Saints and the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers will be closer than the last one, but after watching New Orleans destroy the Buccaneers 38-3 in Tampa in Week 9, it’s hard to get on board with the road team here. The Saints also downed the Bucs in the season opener, in no small part because the Buccaneers had turnover issues in both meetings. The Saints are the more balanced team, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are healthy, and I’m not giving up just yet on my preseason Super Bowl pick in the NFC.
Saints 31, Buccaneers 27
Sobleski: As The Athletic’s Greg Auman noted, 14 of the 21 teams that swept their rival during the regular season also beat them during a playoff meeting. The Saints have Brees back at full health, enough weapons on offense to offset the Buccaneers’ sixth-ranked defense and a good enough defense in their own right to slow Brady and Tampa Bay’s offense.
Saints 28, Buccaneers 24
Gagnon: I hate to do this, but I think the Saints winning by a field goal at home is by far the most likely outcome here, so I’m essentially suggesting you avoid this one. Picking the Bucs is too risky considering how much trouble they’ve had with the Saints, who are finally pretty healthy. So without an option to predict a push, I’d back New Orleans. But for all intents and purposes, I’m predicting a push in this spot.
Saints 34, Buccaneers 31
Consensus ATS pick: New Orleans -3
Consensus score Prediction: Saints 31, Buccaneers 27
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