The headline for this bout is readymade and scintillating, with two future first-ballot Hall of Fame quarterbacks set to square off for the right to punch their ticket to the NFC title game -- where another is waiting in Aaron Rodgers. When Drew Brees and Tom Brady square off in the NFC Divisional Round, it'll be the third time this season the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers have locked horns, but likely not for quarterback Taysom Hill and running back Latavius Murray.
Having nursed a knee and quadricep injury this week, respectively, it's unlikely one or both will take the field on Sunday, per Jane Slater of NFL Network. Both were listed as questionable on the final injury report, but the Saints are apparently planning to take the field without them, although they'll both be worked out pregame before a final determination is made. That means a shift behind Brees to Jameis Winston but, more importantly, the absence of Hill will impact what head coach Sean Payton does offensively. For be it wise or unwise, Payton has been known to shoehorn a certain set of plays in for Hill that usually pulls Brees off of the field to spectate -- something that won't be an option if Hill can't go.
If Murray is sidelined, it'll carve out a key piece of the running back rotation behind Alvin Kamara, putting more pressure on Dwayne Washington and Ty Montgomery to step up against the Bucs defense. It wouldn't be the biggest issue the Saints have seen this season with the RB room -- -- but it's an issue nonetheless, and especially considering how difficult it is to defeat an NFL team three times in the same season.
That's the goal of the Saints though, namely to send Brady packing, but they'll be shorthanded in attempting to do so. Brady has never been defeated three times in the same year over the course of his illustrious career, a tasty morsel of a stat that simply adds spice to an already flaming-hot matchup that will see New Orleans having to adjust on offense before kickoff.