The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the New Orleans Saints will square off again in an NFC South showdown Sunday at Raymond James Stadium with a lot on the line. The Saints have the edge over the Buccaneers, owing to their 34-23 win in Week 1, where Tom Brady struggled in his first regular-season game with Tampa Bay. Brady threw for 239 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in that game, including a pick-six. However, Brady bounced back mightily from that nightmare as he led the Buccaneers to a 6-1 record in their last seven games to take the NFC South lead with a 6-2 mark. Brady threw for 18 touchdown passes with just two interceptions in that span, putting himself in contention for the Most Valuable Player (MVP) award.

In October, Brady became the first Buccaneer to win the NFC Offensive Player of the Month after leading Tampa Bay to a 38-10 win over the Green Bay Packers and a 45-20 route of Las Vegas Raiders.

With Brady on a tear, analysts such as Hall of Fame tight end Shannon Sharpe and former quarterback Michael Vick expect the Buccaneers to avenge their Week 1 loss to the Saints. “I gotta go with the Bucs. I think the Bucs are ascending in all directions, offensively and defensively,” Vick said during an episode of “First Things First” on Fox Sports 1, as transcribed by the author from the YouTube video. Vick added that the addition of wide receiver Antonio Brown would become another significant factor for the Buccaneers, a 5-5-point favorite over the Saints in betting odds.

Saints having a stagnant offense

Also, Vick is worried about the Saints’ stagnant offense, saying they don’t look like getting better or getting worse every week. The former NFL quarterback added that it would be tough for cornerbacks Marshon Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins to cover the Buccaneers’ wide receivers, including Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Brown.

Vick stressed that the Saints would be giving themselves a chance to win if they step up their game, but if not, the former NFL quarterback said Brady and the Buccaneers are going to run right through them.

Sharpe, for his part, said in his program “Undisputed with Skip and Shannon” on Fox Sports 1, the game will be close, but he picked the Buccaneers to win via a score of 27-26.

Like Vick, Sharpe believes that the Saints’ offense is not clicking in their past few games, winning their last three outings by just an average of three points. Sharpe added that the Buccaneers’ defense is playing excellent, giving the Saints’ offensive line a problem protecting quarterback Drew Brees.

If the Saints (5-2) win, John Sigler of USA Today pointed out that it would be the first time that a division opponent sweeps Brady in his 19-year career as a starting quarterback. During his 20-year tenure with the Patriots, Sigler said Brady had a 32-3 record against the Buffalo Bills, 23-12 against the Miami Dolphins, and 29-7 against the New York Jets in the AFC East.

Brady among Mahomes’ favorite quarterbacks

Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes revealed in an interview on the “Huddle and Flow” podcast, hosted by NFL Network’s Steve Wyche and Jim Trotter that Brady is one of his favorite quarterbacks in terms of specific skills sets. Per a report by Luke Easterling of USA Today, Mahomes praised Brady’s ability to read blitzes from the opposing defense. “He knows it is coming before it even comes,” Mahomes said of Brady. Mahomes also lauded the arm strength of Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers and the ability of Seattle Seahawks’ Russell Wilson to carry a two-minute offense.

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