Hill, Saints find themselves at crossroads

With their season on the line, Taysom Hill and the New Orleans Saints travel to Florida to take on division rivals Tampa Bay.

Hot off a comfortable win over the lowly Jets, the Saints find themselves in the playoff hunt in the NFC but with a major question mark still hanging over them at quarterback. While Taysom Hill is entrenched until the end of 2021, and has a shiny new contract in his pocket, his play over the last few weeks has many questioning his credentials going forward.

SAINTS BUCS ALWAYS A TOP DRAW

Few will forget the matchups between these two last season when Drew Brees faced Tom Brady three times, winning two and losing the most important game in the playoffs.

Once again earlier this season the Saints pulled out the win off the back of the 2021 starting QB Jameis Winston and backup Trevor Siemian. Since then, with Winston sidelined for the season after that Bucs game, the season has gone significantly off the rails for New Orleans losing 5 on the bounce before Sunday’s win over the Jets.

The Jets game was only Taysom Hill’s second start of the season, and New Orleans fans will be hoping that winning feeling is coming back. Hill was steady, if unspectacular throwing the ball, but is a true threat to go the distance every time he runs the ball.

However, despite a new $40-million four-year, it’s Taysom Hill’s passing that has everyone scratching their heads. We all saw him implode late in the game against the Cowboys on Thursday Night Football, going 19/41 for 264 yards 2 Touchdowns and 4 (yes FOUR) interceptions.

But the key takeaway from that game, was the Saints only lost by 10 points. Despite Hill playing like a QB who hadn’t played in weeks. From a betting perspective this gives us a very unique opportunity.

The Saints enter Week 15 as 10.5-point underdogs against the Bucs. With a QB who can score a TD on any play, and a defence that is still one of the best in the NFL.

Unfortunately, online sports betting in Louisiana has yet to launch and it’s already nearing the end of 2021. The expected launch is January 2022 and should hopefully be in time for the playoffs. Meanwhile, residents in the State can actually pre-register for accounts at some of the listed sites. So we recommend our Louisiana readers set themselves up early so you can hit the ground running in the new year.

DEFENCE WINS CHAMPIONSHIPS (AND BETS)

The key for the Saints is that defence, and Hill learning he doesn’t need to try and make those crazy throws at this point in his career. The Saints D ranks 11th in points conceded despite struggling to hold the ball long during that 5-game losing streak.

At the same time the Bucs Defence ranks 19th, allowing 22.8 points per game. With the Saints edging out that side of the ball, Hill has to prove that he is a genuine NFL starting calibre QB by not throwing this game away with silly mistakes.

If he can hold it together the Saints have a great shot at winning this game, and making a run for one of those wildcard spots and answering the questions about who will be their starting QB in 2022 and beyond.

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Ray Burton
Ray writes mostly in-depth analytical pieces covering a range of sports from a more statistical perspective drawing his inspiration from the fanalytics movement. Ray writes on the NFL, Premier League, MLB, NHL, NBA, and NRL.

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