Despite the Saints’ two-game winning streak, their slim hopes for a wild card spot died before last week’s kickoff of their eventual home victory over Tampa Bay. Instead, New Orleans will spend the first day of 2017 trying to deny its archrivals a bye in the first round of the postseason. The Saints also can finish at .500 with a win in Atlanta.
Despite New Orleans’ victory in Arizona last Sunday, Atlanta’s victory over San Francisco ended the Saints hopes of winning the NFC South. They still have a mathematical shot a wild card, but need to win their final two games and hope the Redskins, Packers and Buccaneers all lose in Weeks 16 and 17.
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview and Prediction
New Orleans enters Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay with its playoff aspirations on life support. The Saints’ offense sputtered, managing just 13 points in last week’s loss at home to Detroit. The Lions also put an end to Drew Brees’ streak of throwing a touchdown pass at home at 60 games, an NFL record.
New Orleans enters Thursday night's game following a crushing defeat at home. Victory seemed nearly secured following Drew Brees’ 32-yard touchdown pass to Brandin Cooks to tie the score with less than a minute and a half remaining.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-4) entered Week 8 riding a two-game winning streak, trailing Atlanta by just a half game in the NFC South. The Buccaneers were unable to capitalize, losing 30-24 in overtime to the Raiders at home.
Defending NFC champion Carolina limps into the Mercedes-Benz Superdome seeking its first victory in a month. The Panthers, who have won the NFC South each of the past three seasons, look nothing like the steamroller they were in 2015 en route to a 14-0 start. Carolina has lost three games in a row, the last two coming against divisional foes Atlanta and Tampa Bay.