Here are my three key matchups for the Bucs on offense.
Josh Freeman vs Gregg Williams
Gregg Williams is one of those defensive coordinators who loves to blitz. He'll blitz on first, second, third and fourth down if he can. If the Bucs want to succeed on Sunday, Josh Freeman is going to have to identify those blitzes, and then take advantage of the holes those blitzes leave in coverage. He's done a good job with the first point, but has had trouble taking advantage of any holes in coverage this season.
Worse yet, he's looked uncomfortable in the pocket, scrambling without pressure and reacting to pressure prematurely. When Freeman is pressured, he often can't step into throws, which leads to errant passes. All of this will lead Gregg Williams to blitz the young quarterback relentlessly. Can he handle it?
Kellen Winslow vs Roman Harper
This is one matchup the Bucs should try to dictate in tomorrow's game. Roman Harper is a solid safety in the box, but he is not good in coverage. He can't hang with tight ends in man coverage, and is unfocused and undisciplined in zone coverage. Winslow lacks speed these days, but he's an excellent route runner who knows how to get open. He also has some of the best hands in the NFL. The Bucs need to find a way to get Roman Harper on Kellen Winslow, and take advantage.
Earnest Graham vs Jonathan Vilma
Jonathan Vilma is one of the better coverage linebackers in the league, and is a very intelligent middle linebacker. A true leader of a defense. But he is undersized and not the best linebacker in run support. Earnest Graham needs to take advantage of a faltering Saints run defense, and
But Earnest Graham doesn't have the speed he used to have, and he lacks any real power as a runner. Can he take advantage of the blocking he will see, or will he turn into Cadillac Williams 2.0 - a player who runs hard, but who has lost the skills to be a feature back.