Keys to a Saints Victory in Week 1 vs Buccaneers

BtBoylan

The New Orleans Saints open the 2020 NFL season on Sunday against their NFC South rivals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. With no fans permitted in the Superdome because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Saints Dome-Field advantage will look much different against a team they defeated twice last season. However, Tampa Bay presents new faces across the field, including QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski. This NFC South battle is one of the most talked-about matchups of Week 1 as the league begins its most unique season ever. The Buccaneers and Saints kickoff Sunday at 3:25 CST on Fox.

Below the Saints News Network Krewe shares their keys to a Saints victory over the Bucs in Week 1. 

Bob Rose:

Saints Cam Jordan pressures Bucs Jameis Winston
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

I think the biggest determining factor in this game is pass protection on both sides. These teams combined for 98 sacks last year, but especially whether the Saints pass rush will get to Bucs QB Tom Brady. Tampa Bay has a lethal group of receivers and tight ends, even if WR Mike Evans isn't able to play, but the New Orleans secondary has the depth to stay with them. 

The longer the Saints defensive backs are left in coverage, however, the more vulnerable they become against Brady's ability to find the open man. Even at 43, Brady moves around the pocket well and gets rid of the ball quickly, so he'll be difficult to sack. If New Orleans could hurry him, hit him, and make him feel rushed through his progressions, than it could lead to some big mistakes later in the game.

Kyle T. Mosley:

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Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

I have three keys to a Saints victory. The first would be how well the Saints secondary plays not against the wide receivers as much as the tight ends. Gronk, Brate, and Howard are projected to be a hands-full for any team. If P.J. Williams is out of the game, this could be an issue for the Saints.

The second will be the special teams unit. Coach Rick Gaille would always say on Saints News Radio, "Special Teams must be Special." If Morstead, Lutz, and Harris can be convert and consistent help in this dynamic, I like the Saints' chances.

Three. Create turnovers. The lack of preseason games for players may slow down player adjustments to a live game. Brady's timing on connecting with his wideouts could be an issue if the Saints' defensive line can affect his play. Watch for the QB hits and forced-fumble strips to take a toll against a questionable Bucs offensive line.

Carla Antoine:

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© Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

The Saints' the biggest keys to victory this week are four-fold: 

1. Drew Brees 2. Defense 3. Injuries 4. Management of Covid-19 

Drew Brees is 41 years old and still one of the best quarterbacks in the league. I do not expect to see any significant drop-off in his performance this season, but we all know anything can happen. As long as Brees stays healthy and does not rely solely on his arm strength, the Saints will remain among the NFL’s elite Super Bowl contenders this season. 

The defense is shaping up to be arguably one of the best in recent years. Sean Payton has done an awesome job of replenishing the roster with young talent, and the key will be receivers, utilizing the young talent well, and managing injuries. As long as Covid-19 does not wreak havoc on our team, we should be on the road to Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on February 7, 2021, for Super Bowl LV.

John Hendrix:

Saints head coach Sean Payton
John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

The biggest Saints key to victory is coaching adjustments. Week 1 is going to be like opening a Christmas present from a family member that you have no idea what it'll be. It could be something great, or it could be a fruit cake. The hype is all about the Bucs and they look to play spoiler for the Saints.

The reason why New Orleans should win this game is because of their roster, which saw very little turnover and is one of the best in the league. Most importantly, their coaching staff being able to make the in-game adjustments in this game to help them be in the best position to win is what should spell the difference and spoil the Brady Era for the Bucs.

Brendan Boylan:

Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints Running Back
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay ranked 1st in the NFL in rush defense in 2019. The key to a victory in Week 1 in a silent Superdome is to be comfortable with the hard-fought three-yard carries and don't stray away from the run game. Alvin Kamara, who is back to 100% after playing on an MCL tear last season, averaged over 60 yards per game in his career against Tampa Bay. Kamara and Murray combined for 90+ yards and over 4 yards per carry in both matchups.  

The New Orleans rushing attack becomes that much more important against the new-look Bucs because of the offensive firepower. Regardless of whether WR Mike Evans plays or not, the more Brady is off the field, the better it is for New Orleans. Brees and the offense should look enjoy long drives and a big day from Kamara for a Week 1 victory. 

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