Don't Expect Tom Brady, Buccaneers' High-Powered Offense to Magically Appear Monday Night vs. Saints

After putting up near-MVP numbers in 2021, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has just 14 touchdowns, the same number as Andy Dalton.
After putting up near-MVP numbers in 2021, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady has just 14 touchdowns, the same number as Andy Dalton. / Scott Galvin-USA TODAY Sports

The New Orleans Saints (4-8) have a crucial battle with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-6) for supremacy in the NFC South on Monday Night Football this week from Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

Yep, that's right. Two teams below .500 in Week 13 have a chance to play meaningful football for a shot at the division in the final third of the NFL season.

Tampa already got the best of New Orleans earlier this year at the Superdome in Week 2, but the Saints have won seven of eight against the Bucs, including four of five matchups since Brady came to town.

Will New Orleans climb back into a deflating divisional race, or can the Bucs get back to .500 and distance themselves from the pack?

Here's the latest odds for Monday Night Football:

Saints vs. Buccaneers Odds, Spread and Total

Saints vs. Buccaneers Odds, Spread, and Total Movement in NFL Week 14

The line has hung at Bucs -3.5 consistently throughout the week since opening. The total has dropped from 42.5 down to 41/41.

Saints vs. Buccaneers Prediction and Best Bet

At the beginning of last week, BetSided's Iain MacMillan put Tom Brady's season, as well as the current betting lines into perspective:

I still think the Buccaneers are being overvalued in the betting market because people assume that Tom Brady will eventually turn things around because that's what we've come to expect from him over the past 20+ years.

I'm here to tell you that it's not going to happen. Tom Brady and his offense is out of sync, Todd Bowles is a terrible play caller, and the Buccaneers shouldn't be looked at as the contender they have been since TB12 joined the roster.

It's hard to disagree. Tampa Bay, after being one of the best home teams against the spread the last few seasons, has yet to cover the number in their home stadium in 2022. Brady and the Bucs are dead-last in the NFL in rushing, 25th in yards/play, and 28th in points/play. Their incredibly one-dimensional, and that plays into the Saints' strengths defensively this season, ranked in the top 10 in opponent yards/pass, and opponent yards/play.

So why not take the Saints to cover? Frankly, their offense stinks too, and the Bucs have at least improved on that side of the field. Over their last three games, New Orleans ranks bottom 10 in yards/play, and third-worst in points/play. On the season, they're also last in the NFL in turnover margin per game.

41.5 points feels like a shootout based on what we've seen offensively from these two teams throughout the season. Factor in Brady's struggles against Dennis Allen's defenses throughout his Tampa career, and I'll happily race to bet the under on Monday night.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.