SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 09: Head coach Raheem Morris of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers speaks to his team during their loss to the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on October 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the New Orleans Saints as just four-point underdogs despite a 48-3 shelling at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers last week. The Bucs hope the offense can pick itself up with Earnest Graham starting at running back in place of the injured LeGarrette Blount.
Coming off a 48-3 shelling at the hands of the San Francisco 49ers, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are probably surprised to find themselves just four-point underdogs to the New Orleans Saints this week. The Saints are coming off a tight 30-27 over the Carolina Panthers, however, in which Cam Newton was just a desperation heave away from pulling off an upset.
The Bucs have more pressing concerns, however, starting at running back. LeGarrette Blount appears likely to sit after injuring his knee during last week's loss. Earnest Graham will step up as the starter, but whether he can be as productive as Blount remains to be seen. Not that the running game has been that strong this year, averaging just over 110 yards per game.
The Saints' offense is a strength once again, obviously. Behind a Drew Brees-led passing game New Orleans is averaging 31.4 points per game, fifth-best in the NFL. Where they have struggled is on defense, giving up 25 points per contest. Still, against a reeling Bucs' squad it is somewhat surprising that the Saints aren't bigger favorites according to oddsmakers. But maybe not. The Bucs are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games as underdogs. Maybe Vegas knows something we don't.