Brady not in blue anymore
This is probably the game that will have the most eyes on in week 1 of the 2020 NFL season. Everybody is eager to see how Tom Brady looks in a jersey that is not Patriots'. At 43 years of age and after 20 seasons in New England, he moved to Florida. Not to retire like most of the aging Americans that move to Florida, but to play for Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There is a clash of opinions going on about how well he'll do down there. One side is saying that without Bill Belichick and that well-oiled system, he will struggle. Others are saying that he is the GOAT and will transition to the new system effortlessly and lead Bucs to the playoffs.
One thing is clear. If he fails, there's no excuse. Buccaneers surrounded him with a lot of talent on the offense and Bruce Ariens is not a bad coach either. He has a decent OL, to which they added a first-round pick Tristan Wirfs in the draft. Recently, they signed Leonard Fournette to go alongside LeSean McCoy and Ronald Jones. Meaning the backfield is stacked. And he has one of the best pass-catching groups in the league with Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Rob Gronkowski and OJ Howard. There's more then enough to work with here, but football is a complex game and if everything is not in sync, names on the paper mean nothing.
Locked and loaded
They are playing vs a team that will probably be their main rival in the NFC South. I expect the Saints to come out and make a statement that they are still ruling the NFC South. Brady or no Brady. This team is stacked and is playing together in the same system for a couple of seasons now, which is an important thing in 2020, when the teams couldn't practice together almost until the training camp. Teams that are together for a few years already will have an edge over ones that are trying to implement new things but had no time to properly do it.
Saints also signed some good players, but those signings did not get as much attention from the media. They needed a veteran to lead that secondary and the found a perfect guy in Malcolm Jenkins. Emmanuel Sanders will be another weapon for Drew Brees who already had bunch of those. While Malcolm Brown will be a very good rotation piece on the interior of that defense. Having him alongside Rankins and Onyemata will allow them to rotate, keep those big guys fresh, which will help them keep that "allowed yards per carry" stat down.
Saints vs Buccaneers betting tips
Speaking of run defense, the Bucs under Todd Bowles have been the best in the league last year, allowing only 3.3 yards per carry. But Saints are a tricky team, that is well equipped to play around that strength with their short passing game. They have plenty of high percentage pass plays drawn up in their playbook, that will neutralize the Bucs run defense and help them keep the drives alive for exploiting their main weakness - secondary play. Expect a high volume of screen plays for Kamara early on and slant/curl route for Michael Thomas, through which Saints will find rhythm on offense.
There are many questions surrounding Bucs offense on the other side. How rusty is Rob Gronkowski after sitting out a season? How will they divide the workload in the backfield? Who steps up in absence of Mike Evans? Will OJ Howard finally play up to his full potential, now that he has better QB play? In my opinion, there are just too many questions to answer from Tampa Bay, to expect an immediate upset from them in the Superdome.