Saints vs Bucs Preview & Free Pick [December 19th 2021]

New Orleans (6-7) at Tampa Bay (10-3)
When: Sunday, December 19th 2021
Where: Raymond James Stadium,
Tampa, FL
Time: 8:20 ET | TV: NBC
Opening Odds: Tampa Bay -11.5/48

The New Orleans Saints have won the NFC South four years in a row, but that streak will likely come to an end soon – possibly Sunday night. The Saints visit the first place Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Sunday Night NFL game on NBC looking to keep their playoff hopes alive. These two teams hooked up last season in Tampa on a Sunday night and Drew Brees and the Saints crushed Brady and the Bucs 38-3 en route to winning the NFC South. New Orleans is clearly not the same team and Tampa went on to win the Super Bowl last year as a wild card. The Saints (6-7) are currently the seventh and final seed in the NFC playoff race, but are tied with four other teams. Head coach Sean Payton tested positive for COVID-19 on Friday and will not be with the team on Sunday. Defensive coordinator Dennis Allen will assume the head coaching responsibilities this week. The Saints beat the New York Jets 30-9 last week for their first win since Halloween.


That win on Oct. 31 was against the Bucs, who are 0-3 now in the regular season against New Orleans under Brady. Tampa went on to lose the next week at Washington but have since won four in a row, scoring at least 30 points in each. They bolted out to a 24-3 halftime lead over the Buffalo Bills last week, but ended up blowing it and had to win on a 58-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Breshad Perriman for a 33-27 overtime victory. The Buccaneers are planning a “Red Out” with fans wearing the color this Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Tampa Bay is just 4-3 on the road but a perfect 6-0 SU (4-2 ATS) at home. They are just 1-6 ATS in their last seven meetings against New Orleans.

New Orleans ended a five-game losing streak on Sunday with an easy win over the lowly Jets. They welcomed back star running back Alvin Kamara from a four-game injury absence and he rushed for 120 yards and a TD and had four catches. Kamara also set the NFL record for most receptions by a running back in the first five years of his career. Taysom Hill was 15-of-21 for just 175 yards, but did rush for 73 yards and two scores. The Saints also got left tackle Terron Armstead, defensive end Marcus Davenport and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson back from injuries Sunday as the team continues to get healthier at the right time. Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk, defensive end Cameron Jordan and running back Mark Ingram II could be back this week. After this game with Tampa Bay, the Saints finish with games against Miami, Carolina and Atlanta.

With a victory Sunday night over the Saints, Tampa Bay would win the South for the first time since 2007. Then they can set their sights on the No. 1 seed in the conference. They are currently tied with Arizona and Green Bay, but are second due to tiebreakers. The Bucs don’t play either team this season. In Tampa’s 36-27 loss at New Orleans in Week 8, Brady threw for 375 yards and four scores but also two picks, one returned for a score. In last week’s win over Buffalo, Brady became the first player in NFL history with 700 career TD passes (including playoffs) and also passed Drew Brees for the most completions in NFL history. Receiver Antonio Brown remains out on a three-game suspension this week for having fake vaccination cards. Tampa Bay is 5-0 ATS in its past five as a home favorite.

The Saints are getting healthy and are a better team than their 6-7 record. Kamara is back and that improves the offense significantly as we saw last week. Tampa has a hard time with New Orleans, failing to cover six of the last seven meetings. I say the Saints keep it close.

Pick: Saints +11
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