NFL Picks for Buccaneers vs. Saints

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 12:18 PM GMT

Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013 12:18 PM GMT

Week 17 of the NFL betting season is always loaded with shenanigans. What do the football gods have in store for Sunday’s game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints?

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 22 inclusive:

40-34-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

9-17-1 Totals

It’s that special time of year again. No, not the holidays. I’m talking about Sorgi Time. This is the last week of the NFL betting season, which means we all need to pay very close attention to who’s going to suit up and who’s going to sit this one out. You should be doing this every week, but that goes double in Week 17.

Sorgi Time, of course, is named in honor of Jim Sorgi, the former back-up quarterback for Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Nearly every year between 2004 and 2008, the mighty Colts had the luxury of treating Week 17 like an exhibition game; Manning started, but Sorgi ended up taking most of the snaps. He was usually very good, too: 63.5 percent completion rate, six touchdown throws and just one interception for his career. One interception in 156 pass attempts! There should be a wing in the Hall of Fame for guys like that.

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Saints Alive

We’ve got two teams on the opposite side of the Sorgi Spectrum when the New Orleans Saints (10-5 SU, 7-8 ATS) host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-11 SU, 6-9 ATS) on Sunday. The Saints aren’t in a position to employ any shenanigans; they currently hold the sixth and final playoff seed in the NFC, and need a win to clinch that Wild Card berth. Head coach Sean Payton has already told reporters that he’s treating Week 17 like a playoff game.

And then you have the Buccaneers. They appear to have checked out mentally, judging by their 1-3 SU and ATS record this month after enjoying something of a revival in November. Head coach Greg Schiano has a difficult task on his hands; a win over New Orleans might save his job, but this is also a perfect spot to give some underused players a chance to audition for 2014, while protecting some of Tampa Bay’s banged-up starters.

Make sure to check out our:

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NFL Picks: NFC Future Betting Odds

Vincent Twice (Vincent Twice)

At least we can be somewhat certain – somewhat – that QB Mike Glennon will start for the Bucs on Sunday (4:25 p.m. ET, FOX). If Schiano is going to go down with his ship, it will probably be with his Chosen One under center. Glennon (84.9 passer rating) is one of the few gold stars on Schiano’s 2013 report card; however, the past four games have been fair-to-middling at best. Glennon was sacked seven times in last week’s 23-13 loss to the St. Louis Rams (–3.5 at home). Protecting that asset might be the more prudent choice against the No. 1-ranked pass rush in the NFL, according to the efficiency stats at Football Outsiders.

Then you have Glennon’s most dangerous target, WR Vincent Jackson (74 catches, seven TDs). He played against the Rams despite a nagging hamstring injury and made five catches for 98 yards, although Jackson was kept out of the end zone for the first time since Week 13. Will he play this Sunday? It seems likely as we go to press, but who knows.

There’s a metric boatload of other wounded Buccaneers who could really use a day off. If Schiano decides to crack the whip (as he is wont to do), those players might go ahead and take another “unofficial” day off against the Saints like they did in St. Louis. It wouldn’t be the first mutiny in the history of the NFL. I’m recommending the Saints as my early pick, but treat this as a glorified exhibition game, and be prepared for shenanigans. Happy Holidays.

NFL Pick: Take the Saints –12 at Heritage

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