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New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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New Orleans Saints (11-4) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11) 

NFL Football: Sunday, December 31st, 2017, 1 PM ET, Raymond James Stadium 

Spread: Saints -6

O/U: 49

Money Line: Saints -275 / Buccaneers +225

FREE NFL Pick New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

While the Saints are guaranteed a playoff spot and are playing for a division title, the Buccaneers will be playing their last game of the year before heading into an offseason filled with more questions than answers.

The Saints have come a long way since starting the season off 0-2, when no one saw them as a team that could potentially produce a second Super Bowl title. Now, as we enter the final week of the NFL season, the Saints are playing for their first division title since 2011 and have entered the conversation as legit championship contenders. While the Saints and Bucs are polar opposites in record, it’s important the Saints don’t overlook this matchup, as there is clearly a lot on the line. While Drew Brees has done well in his career against Tampa Bay, look for the running game to play a big role in this game as it has been all year. Alvin Kamara serves as a duel threat, with 684 yards on the ground to go along with 75 receptions. Mark Ingram has had a stellar year on the ground, with 1,089 rushing yards entering Sundays game, both him and Kamara were voted to the Pro Bowl game this year. With aging QB Drew Brees needing at least 300 yards to avoid his lowest season in passing yards since 2009, it has been nice for the Saints to not have to rely on the veteran QB as much, taking the work load off and keeping Brees a little fresher.

It’s been a long and disappointing season for Tampa Bay, who entered this season with playoff aspirations but is now trying to avoid ending the season on a six-game losing streak. While the Bucs are playing for nothing but a 5-win season, their players still want to go out on a high note, including QB Jameis Winston. Winston has lost eight consecutive starts and has been battling a shoulder injury this season that has sidelined on more than one occasion. While Tampa Bay hasn’t come out on the winning side enough this year, they have played hard, with seven of their 11 defeats coming by six points or fewer.

Trends By Cover The Spread 365

Saints

. 4-3 away this season

. 8-7 ATS this season

. 4-1 against the division this season

Buccaneers

. 0-5 against the division this year

. 5-9-1 ATS this season

. 1-6 O/U at home this season

Its been a long time since there was meaningful football in New Orleans this late in the season. I expect them to come out firing on Sunday, playing for their division title and end the season 12-4 after starting 0-2. The Buccaneers are looking forward to the offseason and I believe that will show in their playin on Sunday.

Pick: [button type=”big” color=”Yellow”]  Pick: Saints -6[/button]

Offensive Players of the Week (Week 5):

AFC: @nyjets RB @IsaiahCrowell34
NFC: @Saints QB @drewbrees

NFL Week 6 Power Rankings:

1. @RamsNFL
2. @Chiefs
3. @Saints
4. @Patriots
5-32. https://t.co/P5kcdOYcGv (via @HarrisonNFL)

What we learned from the @Saints win on #MNF: https://t.co/wjGNrpy0lY (via @JABergman)

[email protected] broke the all-time passing record and punctuated his historic night by leading the @Saints over the @Redskins, 43-19, on #MNF! #WASvsNO

FINAL: The @Saints win on #MNF! #GoSaints #WASvsNO

(by @Lexus)

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#Bucs now officially announce the dismissal of defensive coordinator Mike Smith and say LBs coach Mark Duffner will take over.

The #Bucs defense has allowed 400 yards or more in 20 of the last 37 games under Mike Smith.

No victory Monday for the #Bucs. Of course hindsight is 20/20. But what did you think of the Bucs final play call? Ball on the Falcons 21. Seven seconds left. No timeouts.

#Bucs Mike Evans on the final play: “That’s how the play is drawn up. We want to give it to him in space. Us bobbling the ball helped us a little. It threw them off track. I just threw a poor ball. If I could’ve thrown a better pass.''

#Bucs DeSean Jackson on if he would've scored had he picked the ball up on the final play: “I would’ve walked in backwards, in my eyes. I was just back there sitting anxiously waiting on it. I knew the guy that was guarding me ran to Jameis and ran over to where the ball was...

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Sam Pirozzi
Sam Pirozzi
Born and raised in the greater Boston area, Sam has had a passion for sports his entire life and is a die hard Boston sports fan. Majoring in communications at Curry College, he has experience in all areas of multimedia, including but not limited to: Radio, Television, Writing and play-by-play of various sports. Sam can be found on twitter under the username @SamPirozzi1
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