Past Expert Picks
This is the one favorite I love in Week 1. The Saints are one of the best teams in the league, and I feel like they're the clear front-runner in the NFC. The Bucs have plenty of unanswered questions since we have yet to see Tom Brady in this offense, and now he might be without Mike Evans in Week 1. That would make the Bucs offense much easier to defend, as would Leonard Fournette getting decent run despite him still being new to the offense, as the Tampa Bay staff has intimated will happen. Unless the Bucs come up with a huge defensive effort, I think New Orleans wins with ease.
This is not a fade of Tampa Bay because of the Tom Brady hype, but more the talented New Orleans Saints. I have the Saints' offensive line ranked No. 1, the offense No. 2 behind Kansas City and the defense No. 5. I also like the angle that Brady has had no game snaps with his new teammates. No preseason is a big advantage for New Orleans.
The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL opening at home against a team in the Buccaneers that still has plenty of questions to answer. Namely: How will Tom Brady play in his first game not being coached by Bill Belichick? Quite well is my guess. But let's not forget Brady is three years on the other side of 40, Rob Gronkowski did not play last year and both are on a new team. Meanwhile, New Orleans rolls in with pieces that have been playing together under the same coach for years -- and not just pieces but one of the 3-4 most-talented tandems in the entire league. The Saints should be a 6-point favorite.
Tampa Bay @ New Orleans | 09/13 | 8:25 PM UTC
Tampa Bay +3.5
For the record, I have the Buccaneers beating the Chiefs in Tampa Bay in the Super Bowl, becoming the first team to win the title at home. The hype is real. Tom Brady has a ton of weapons and Tampa Bay will be much-improved on defense. The Buccaneers’ offensive scheme is going to cause a lot of matchup advantages. Without Jameis Winston turning the ball over, Tampa Bay will be better on both sides of the football. Drew Brees still has a ton of weapons at his disposal. New Orleans has a solid defense. This is going to be a close game, decided by a field goal.