Typically, the Superdome can be a daunting venue. It’s tough to go in there and get a win. But in recent years, the Saints have tending to start slowly on defense.

In each of the past five years, in fact, New Orleans has been pretty lousy on defense in its first home game. It edged Houston 30-28 in a Monday night game last year, but it lost all of its previous four, giving up 26, 35, 36 and 48 games. Two of those games were against Tampa Bay, and one was against Tom Brady.

Two of those games, by the way, were Week 2 games. If you want to instead look simply at season openers, you can sub in two other subpar games. In 2015, the Saints started with a 31-19 loss at Arizona (coached by Bruce Arians, whom they’ll see this week). In 2017, they started with a 29-19 loss at Minnesota, with Sam Bradford playing the best game of his career and Dalvin Cook running wild.

Dennis Allen has been their defensive coordinator in 2016, and he was a high-level assistant on the 2015 team. For whatever reason, they haven’t been a fast-starting team on that side of the ball.

The Bucs probably won’t have Mike Evans. They’ve upgraded him to questionable today, but he hasn’t been practicing because of a hamstring injury. I don’t know that he’ll play at all, and if he does, it definitely would be in a limited role (I wouldn’t use Evans in a fantasy lineup). But I wouldn’t be shying away from their offense in this game (especially with the pandemic limiting the amount of crowd noise).

2015Tampa BayL 19-26
2016OaklandL 34-35
2017New EnglandL 20-36
2018Tampa BayL 40-48
2019HoustonW 30-28
2020Tampa Bay?

—Ian Allan