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Preview: Saints vs Buccaneers

By Keegan Ohta.

Some will call this the game of legends. Others will call this the game between two old quarterbacks. And even fewer may say that this game determines who retires after this season.

This game is not the Super Bowl, but it does feel like a Bowl of its own…(insert dramatic music here)…welcome to the Brady vs. Brees Bowl.

Before we go to the card between the two quarterbacks, let’s go to the team history. Now these two are in the NFC South, so naturally these two have played against each other a lot. Since their first meeting in 1977, the Saints lead this series, 37-21, but this will be the first playoff game where these two teams meet. This year, the Saints swept the series, and won their last game against the Buccaneers convincingly, 38-3.

But now, the playoffs are here, and this is where it matters the most.

In this season, both quarterbacks didn’t exactly play an equal amount of games considering Brees was out for four games. But their touchdown to interception ratio are about the same at 4-1. Even if there was a four-game difference, it still is pretty close in stats.

Brees has completed 70.5% of his passes, whereas Brady has completed 65.7% of his passes. Brees has a QB rating of 74.5 and Brady has a QB rating of 72.4. Brees is 41 years old and Brady is 43 years old. There’s a lot of stats you could look at and say they would probably be similar if both played 16 games.

But there is a factor that could lead the Saints over the Buccaneers: the amount of threats posed on offense. You have Alvin Kamara, who is the only player on the team besides the QB to have over 1,000 yards. There is Taysom Hill, a multi-purpose quarterback who has over 500 yards rushing and receiving and 13 total TDs. You also have receivers like Emmanuel Sanders, who has 726 yards receiving.

You could also make a strong rebuttal on Tampa Bay’s side too. You have the threat of Ronald Jones who has accumulated over 1,000 yards. There’s also a good receiving core with players like Mike Evans, who also has over 1,000 yards and makes up 13 of Tampa Bay’s touchdowns. There’s also the continuing legend of Rob Gronkowski,  who also averages 13.8 yards per touch.

Defenses are also very similar as well. The Saints give up 310.9 yards per game, where the Buccaneers give up 327.1 yards per game. But the Buccaneers apparently give up about 30 yards more passing per game, so if you’re looking for any sliver of differences, this could be it.

There’s just a lot of factors, so we can speculate on paper that this could be a close game.

But remember that 38-3 win for the Saints this season? That game had the Saints with 420 yards, where the Buccaneers only had 194 yards. New Orleans had 138 yards rushing, where the Buccaneers only had 8 yards.

Anything can happen in the playoffs, but this game especially is one of those that the saying is true. It could be close, it could be a blow-out.

All we know is that the Brady vs. Brees Bowl will be a sight to behold.

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