Saints-Bucs NFC Divisional Round preview, predictions and odds

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Brady-Brees playoff graphic

An updated view of the postseason odds and predictions for the New Orleans Saints (13-4) in the 2021 postseason.

Vegas’ updated odds and predictions on the New Orleans in their quest for a second Lombardi Trophy are optimistic for the Saints. The New Orleans Saints (13-4) will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-5) for the 2021 NFC Divisional Round playoff game on Sunday, Jan. 17th at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The contest will be the third time the teams will meet for the 2020-21 NFL season.

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THE LEGENDS MEET ONCE AGAIN
We meet again, or should we say – One Last Time?

The two will meet one more time. Drew Brees and Tom Brady. The legendary quarterbacks will square-off in an apparent final duel. Brees’ rumored retirement may close the book on future battles between the two future Hall of Famers.

These extraordinary warriors engaged in a tug of war for the NFC South title and NFL passing records amid personal trials, a new team, injuries, personnel uncertainty, and juggling COVID-19.

11 broken ribs could not keep Brees away from the game. For Brady, early ‘bumps in the road’ with his new team couldn’t shake his focus on the playoffs.

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QUADRAGENARIANS RULE
Could this be the first NFL game or playoff game with both starting quarterbacks over 42? Drew Brees celebrates his 42nd birthday on Jan. 15th, and Tom Brady turned 43 on Aug. 7th.

Drew Brees and Tom Brady
Nov 8, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) and Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (12) greet after the game at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Jeremy Willis wrote that 43-year-old Doug Flutie (New England Patriots) and 42-year-old Vinny Testaverde (New York Jets) did play in a game against one another in December 2005. Sunday’s NFC Divisional round game will make the quadragenarians the eldest pair of starting quarterbacks to throw passes in the NFL playoffs.

Like Ali-Frazier, or Gatti-Ward, or the Star Wars trilogy, this season’s saga of Brees-Brady has favored Brees. Yet, dangerous foes still lurk in those final chapters. In those stories, the underdogs and good guys triumph in the end. For the millions of Saints fans worldwide, their heroes hope to be Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints.

Brady has his six rings, MVPs, honors, parades, and accolades.

Brees has the heart, grit, and passion many average men desire. He owns the historic passing records. But not fully the respect from the outsiders.

On Sunday, will Brees get the proverbial “monkey off his back” and conquer the Bucs along with the man many experts believed would take over the NFC South in 2020?

We shall see.
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Sep 13, 2020; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (9) throws against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first quarter at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Pool photo via Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

SAINTS POSTSEASON PREDICTIONS
Here are the updated and current Vegas sportsbooks and prediction models for the New Orleans Saints’ playoffs and Super Bowl chances in 2021.

ODDS WINNING NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND
Team Rankings – 58.9%  (52.0% on 1/4/21)  chance of winning – New Orleans is a 3 point favorite.
FiveThirtyEight: 71%  (63% on 1/4/21)
William Hill Sportsbook: 3 pt favorite, -170 Money Line
MGM: 3 point favorite (Saints); 51.5 O/U

ODDS WINNING NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Team Rankings – 33.7% (29.3% on 1/4/21) chance of winning
FiveThirtyEight: 39% (34% on 1/4/21)
Betonline.ag: +220
NY Times: 12%
Caesars Palace: +325

ODDS WINNING SUPER BOWL 55
Team Rankings – 18.6% (16.6% on 1/4/21) chance of winning
FiveThirtyEight: 21% (19% on 1/4/21)
FanDuel Sportsbook: +600 (+750 on 1/4/21)

NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND GAME
The Saints sent the Buccaneers back to Tampa in Week 1, with a 34-23 pounding.   New Orleans reminded Brady and the Bucs of their NFC South supremacy with a 38-3 smackdown in front of a nationally televised audience.   On Sunday, it’s about respect.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (11-5, 6-2 Away) vs. New Orleans Saints (12-4, 6-2 Home)

Date:  Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021
Time:  5:40 PM CST
Venue:  Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, LA
Coverage:  FOX;  Announcers – TBA

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Original article from the Saints News Network on Sports Illustrated.

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