New Orleans Saints Head Football Coach Dennis Allen speaks to the media on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center in Metairie, LA. (Hunter Dawkins/The Gazebo Gazette via AP)

by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher/AP Member – editor@thegazebogazette.com

LAS VEGAS PICK:  – 2.5 Tampa Bay

Does anyone remember the way the Detroit Pistons played the Chicago Bulls and the G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time) NBA Basketball Legend, Michael Jordan in the 1980’s?  Certainly, I do recollect the establishment of the ‘Jordan Rules’ and how the different style of defense was set to play the iconic Hall of Famer, which helped Detroit dominate the latter half of the decade.

Switching over to the sports of football, the New Orleans Saints have been very successful against Tom Brady, i.e. the G.O.A.T., in the National Football League (NFL) for the last two years, bringing home four wins to zero.  In the past, New Orleans have come up with a strategic plan to rush the Buccaneers future Hall of Famer and forced him to make unreliable decisions.  The signal caller has an overall record of 4-5 against the Saints, the victories happening in the regular season when he was playing for the New England Patriots.

In reviewing each victory he had throughout his career against New Orleans, the team Brady was on set up a sound running game.  Therefore, stopping the run by the Saints and creating a pass rush would be seen as the priority for a second straight victory over an NFC South Division opponent.

POSITIVES:

Almost two different games for New Orleans last week, the first focusing on a ground attack that never really was.  Other than a few trick plays from Saints TE/Slot/QB/Whatever Taysom Hill, nothing really happened until around 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter when the offensive unit apparently came out of a deep sleep.  Against Tampa Bay, New Orleans will have to be more productive a lot sooner.  Jameis Winston should be built up against his former team.

Undoubtedly, Brady is the G.O.A.T. among quarterbacks, but his age along with the injuries of big time personnel could be a factor and has been in the past.  There doesn’t appear to be a steady player, like former Tight End Rob Gronkowski, that can get the quarterback out of a jam.  EDGE = BUCS

NEGATIVES:

Although the defense had a few great turnovers over the Falcons, Atlanta gained +200 yards, zero sacks, and lengthy time of possession.  Against Brady, the Saints defense must be the exact opposite of what they showed last week.  New Orleans Linebacker Pete Werner had a great game and the secondary made a few good plays.

Kind if hard to judge the Bucs defense against that of Dallas despite holding them to single digits, especially with Cowboys Quarterback Dak Prescott being injured during the game.  Tampa’s defense was the reason they won the Super Bowl a few years ago, but their secondary will be challenged by multiple New Orleans Receivers every play.  EDGE = SAINTS

OVERRATED:

I will never say that the Saints defensive line is overrated, but the matchup was off last week.  Atlanta Running Back Cordarrelle Patterson and Quarterback Marcus Mariota found holes through a pistol set that I have not seen either run since college.  The confusion of this formation certainly stunned me at how effective it was, but only one game, so there is time for more film review.

Tampa Bay’s offensive play-calling seems a little old school.  I think highly of offensive coordinator, Byron Leftwich, but there was no sense of urgency against Dallas and more complacency.  Even though Dallas didn’t offer much of a needed game plan, there are limits to the amount or style of play you can call with Brady.  EDGE = SAINTS

UNDERRATED:

Jameis Winston’s managing of a game.  Although it’s tough to challenge the athleticism of a former Heisman Trophy Winner, the game management seemed to be a tough hurdle for him in the NFL.  Scoring 17 unanswered points in the opening game against a division opponent with the passes he tossed, Winston showed why his teammates trust him and the Saints can keep moving forward.

New Orleans Native and Tampa Bay Running Back Leonard “Playoff Lenny” Fournette provided the reason Tampa will be tough to beat this year.  The veteran, former LSU star ran for 127 yards and caught two passes for 10 yards to roll over the Cowboys defense.  EDGE = SAINTS

BOTTOM LINE:

The Saints defensive unit will be the most watched in this game and how they attack Brady.  This will determine how effective the offense is regardless of what offensive game plan they try to utilize.  EDGE = NEW ORLEANS SAINTS – 3.