The Saints are having fun with the fact that so many media members picked the Buccaneers to win last night’s game. The joke ultimately is on the Buccaneers, who were picked by most to win the game for very good reasons.
The Buccaneers in recent weeks obliterated the Packers (who beat the Saints on a Sunday night in Week Three), and the Buccaneers have blown the Raiders off the field. The Saints have struggled with inferior teams in what had been a four-game (now five-game) winning streak, most recently allowing an overmatched Bears team to force overtime last weekend and entering a game on a windy night with Drew Brees having a banged-up shoulder.
So what happened?
“It was shocking,” Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians told reporters after the 38-3 loss. “To know just watch[ing] us practice, the way we practiced all week, the confidence we had coming in. . . . I give New Orleans credit. They kicked our ass in every phase. . . . Everything. Offense, defense, special teams.”
The Buccaneers generally aren’t happy with the ass-kicking they absorbed.
“Everybody’s pissed off,” Arians said. “But too late now, we’ve got to get ready for Carolina. . . . [The loss] can’t carry over to Wednesday. It has to be gone by Monday, and hit the practice field and get ready for Carolina.”
Indeed they do. With a 5-3 record and several challenging games left on the schedule, it now becomes very difficult to win the division. The Buccaneers now have to worry about jostling with the likes of the Rams, the Cardinals, the 49ers, and maybe even the Vikings for the three wild-card spots in the NFC.