Saints vs Buccaneers Live Reddit: The New Orleans Saints have called up receiver Bennie Fowler and defensive lineman Margus Hunt from the practice squad for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The 2020 NFL season is officially underway, which means here on The Phinsider, our annual picks pool is also underway. Kathleen Noa crushed all of us – and all the experts working with our friends at TallySight – last year. Can she repeat this year?
Our straight-up winners picks will be posted here on the site every week, with CT Smith, James McKinney, Justin Hier, Josh Houtz, Kat, and me all participating this year. (Sidnote: If you click the tab on the chart, you can see some picks against the spread too.) Who will come out on top after the season? Will anyone be close to Kat? Will Kat go back in to the system to finish her picks? Will Houtz even bother to get his Week 1 picks in before the games start on Sunday? Will we all regret picking the Miami Dolphins this week? Can I at least get to 60% correct picks in our two years with TallySight
The opening week of football showcases some big-time storylines, including Tom Brady debuting for the Buccaneers, Cam Newton taking his old spot in New England and the introduction of No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow (who happens to be the son of former CFL Grey Cup champion Jim Burrow). Look for Canadians Neville Gallimore (Cowboys) and Chase Claypool (Steelers) to make their NFL debuts as well.
Seattle opens its season against the Falcons on Sunday at 1 p.m. ET and will feature a defensive corp that now includes former Jets two-time Pro-Bowler Jamal Adams. On offense, the usual suspects are in place including quarterback Russell Wilson and wide receivers Tyler Lockett, DK Metcalf and Canadian native Luke Willson at tight end.
Coming off their second playoff appearance in the last three years, the Buffalo Bill will be looking to build on their development in Week 1 when they face division rivals, the New York Jets. Josh Allen will have a new weapon in his arsenal this season with the addition of Stefon Diggs at wide receiver.
The Rams’ opening game is so close. On Sunday Night Football @ 5:20 pm PST, they open up the 2020 season against the Dallas Cowboys in their new SoFi Stadium. Since there won’t be any fans at the game, the atmosphere will be much different than what most expected when the stadium was being built.
Still, a fresh season with endless possibilities is always a great time for any sports fan. There are plenty of factors that contribute to a team’s wins and losses, but I’d like to take a look at five (5) specific Rams in this game.
After a career year in 2018, Havenstein had his worst season as a pro in 2019, earning a 50.9 PFF (Pro Football Focus) grade and allowing 5 sacks through 9 games. He then suffered a meniscus injury and didn’t return for the remainder of the season.
Many are expecting Havenstein to get back to his 2018 form, and the Rams will desperately need the former Wisconsin draft choice to do so. He faces a tough task in his first game back, going up against Pro Bowl DE Demarcus Lawrence. Lawrence didn’t play in their meeting last year and was stifled in the playoffs 2 seasons ago. Still, he’s a force to be reckoned with, having recorded 30 sacks and 6 forced fumbles in the last 3 seasons. Havenstein will need to be at the top of his game to protect his QB.
While Ramsey will likely shadow Amari Cooper on Sunday night, Hill will be matched up against Michael Gallup and rookie CeeDee Lamb. Dallas has arguably the best receiving corps in the league, and Hill will have his work cut out for him whoever he goes against.
Cooper and Gallup were mostly contained in last year’s matchup, but mainly because the Cowboys ran the ball down LA’s throat all game long. Expect Dak Prescott to pass more in this meeting, which means more work for the Rams’ corners.
I’ve talked a lot about Higbee recently, and for good reason. He’s coming off arguably the greatest season by a Rams TE in franchise history, as well as one of the greatest 4-game stretches by a TE in league history. One of the games in that stretch was against Dallas last year, where Higbee caught 12 passes on 14 targets for 111 yards. This came against a defense that returns most of its starters from last year, and one that was among the NFL’s worst at defending tight ends (most catches and 3rd most yards allowed).
Admittedly, Higbee got a few more targets than expected because of the game script (LA got down big, early) and usage due to Gerald Everett’s injury. While I don’t think Higbee will get 14 targets again, look for him to continue his late success from last year and start the season off with a bang.
After 8 seasons with the Rams, Brockers looked like he was signing with the Baltimore Ravens in the 2020 offseason. However, due to a failed physical, the Ravens chose not to sign the former 1st-round draft pick, allowing him to rejoin the Rams for another go.
Brockers, a long-time team captain, has been a consistently good run defender for LA, and that’s an area the defense has struggled in over the past few seasons. Brockers had arguably his best season as a pro in 2019, earning a 74.7 grade by PFF. He made 4 tackles and 1 TFL in Dallas last year, and he’ll be looking to do more against a banged-up offensive line.
Dallas gashed the Rams’ defense for 263 rushing yards and 3 TDs last year. While they are missing starters on the OL from that game, RBs Zeke Elliott and Tony Pollard are still in the backfield. With offseason acquisition NT A’Shawn Robinson set to miss this game due to a non-football injury designation, and 2 new starters at ILB, the Rams’ defense will need veterans to step up on the front seven.