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Michael Taylor 22nd Nov 2009 - 12:13

Don’t rule out the Bucs pulling off the shock of week 11

After years of underachievement in New Orleans there are still doubters of their potential this year despite going perfect through the opening ten weeks, and I have to admit that I'm one of those people who still doesn't believe.

The Saints travel to the improving Tampa Bay Buccaneers this week for a game that smacks of a potential upset given what we've seen over the last few weeks of action.

New Orleans may still be well on course for a divisional title and a decent play-off run but they've been far from impressive in recent wins over the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins and St Louis Rams.

Too many times they're turning over the ball, giving up too many points on the defence and generally struggling against far lower ranked teams - it just makes you think how much longer they can remain unbeaten.

I really do think that Josh Freeman and the Bucs have the best opportunity imaginable this week to enhance their own reputation while also knocking off the top rated offence in football.

Freeman has been sensational since his week nine debut and it seems he's already formed a highly productive relationship with Pro Bowl tight end Kellen Winslow.

The defence isn't too bad either, led by brilliant second year corner Aqib Talib.

Talib has thrived this year with five picks and he may feel even more are on the way given the Saints pass heavy offence.

Drew Brees may be one of the best, if not the very best, quarterbacks in the NFL right now but he's also thrown seven interceptions in the past four games - not good news for New Orleans but great news if you want to back the Saints committing most turnovers at 15/8.

One thing to note is how good the Saints defensive unit has been against young quarterbacks this season.

Darren Sharper has put up chin dropping numbers while the line has been dominant in blitzing and getting to the QB - Freeman better watch out or he'll find the likes of Will Smith and Charles Grant in his face all day.

However, if Tampa's offensive line can hold tough then there is massive value in their money line price of 15/4, while I think they should have no problems winning with an 11.5 point head-start on the 10/11 spread market.

Elsewhere this week, I'm looking forward to seeing whether Vince Young and the Tennessee Titans can continue their resurgence against the inconsistent Houston Texans.

It finally looks like Jeff Fisher's side are the force that took them to 13 wins last season, even if it has come too late this time around.

They're riding a three game winning streak and, with a fourth consecutive at the Reliant Stadium, they could start getting ideas of making a late run at the post season.

The game could basically hinge on how well the Texans cope with Chris Johnson's open field threat, and it seems it could go either way with a home defence that ranks in the middle of the pack against the rush.

If Johnson can get going and the defensive line maintains its current level then watch out for the Titans, especially at a mouth-watering 9/5 to win the game (4.5 point spread is priced 10/11).



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