The Commish's Official Breakdown & Prediction

Each week Justin Pawlowski takes a deep look at the key matchups with the Bucs and their opponent, along with giving his official prediction.

The Bucs face the Saints in a crucial game on Sunday. If the Bucs win, they will be right in the hunt for the NFC South, however, if the Bucs lose, they will drop to 1-4 on the season and 0-3 in division games.

Key Matchups

Michael Johnson vs. Terron Armstead

There is some question as to whether Armstead will play after suffering a concussion last Sunday night against the Cowboys. No matter who is at left tackle for the Saints, the Bucs need Michael Johnson to bring a pass rush with him. Johnson was great when the Steelers decided not to even block him. He must provide a rush and get his long arms in the air to knock down short Drew Brees' passes.

Advantage: Bucs

Leonard Johnson vs. Brandin Cooks/Marques Colston

This is not good news for the Bucs. Lovie Smith said Leonard Johnson played his best game last week in Pittsburgh, but the Steelers do not have receivers in the slot like the Saints have. There should be big concerns that Cooks lights up the Bucs secondary all day.

Advantage: Saints

Mark Barron vs. Jimmy Graham

Since the Bucs drafted Mark Barron in 2012 to defend Jimmy Graham, the Bucs are 0-4 against the Saints. Barron has been a liability in coverage and Graham could be poised for another big day against the Bucs.

Advantage: Saints

Marcus Arroyo/Mike Glennon vs. Noise

The Saints have only played one home game this season, and that was the one game they have won. Last week in Pittsburgh, Glennon and Arroyo constantly struggled with getting plays called before the play clock would run out. This could be an even bigger problem in the much louder Superdome.

Advantage: Saints

Lovie Smith vs. Sean Payton

This is a classic conservative vs. aggressive matchup. With the Saints at home, the philosophies of both coaches might be ideal for the situation. Unfortunately, if Lovie Smith becomes too conservative, the Bucs might find themselves in too big of a hole to climb out of when they decide to come out of their shell.

Advantage: Saints

Official Prediction: Saints win 31-17

Listen to Justin Pawlowski daily from 9a-12p as the host of "Fan Interference" on 98.7 The Fan.


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