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New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Game Preview

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Can Tampa Bay sweep their divisional opponent?

Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Will Jameis Winston continue his comeback?
Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers got the best of their division rival New Orleans Saints in Week 1, shocking the entire league with a 48-40 win.

Both team’s seasons have taken drastic turns since that game. Tampa Bay currently sits at 5-7 on the season and the Saints are 10-2, but that doesn’t mean the intensity will be absent from the field on Sunday.

A win could drastically alter the course of the season for the Bucs. Can they get it done?

Overview

  • All-time series: The Saints lead 32-21 all-time. The Bucs are 9-14 at home and 12-18 on the road.
  • Longest win streak: New Orleans won seven in a row from 2011-2014.
  • Largest victory: Tampa Bay was shutout by a score of 41-0 back in 2012.
  • 2018 offensive and defensive rankings: Tampa Bay is still the top offense in the league (1st pass, 26th run) and still sits at 27th in total defense (28th pass, 21st run). New Orleans has the league’s sixth best offense (12th pass, 9th run) and the 16th best defense (30th pass, 1st run).
NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Carl Nassib should make his share of plays today
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

What to Watch for

  • Mike Evans vs. Marshon Lattimore, Part 4: Both players have gotten the best of each other since Lattimore arrived in the NFL last year. Who will prevail today?
  • Tampa Bay’s and New Orleans’ pass rush: The Saints and Bucs are the top two teams in the league when it comes to creating pressure since Week 7.
  • The Bucs’ secondary: It’s a little bit healthier this week, but the banged up unit will be key to today’s matchup
  • No turnovers: Outside of a very questionable call against Peyton Barber last week, the Bucs haven’t committed a single turnover the past two weeks.

Impact Players

Tampa Bay

  • QB Jameis Winston: It starts and ends here for Tampa Bay.
  • WR Mike Evans: He will be leaned on again with Desean Jackson out.
  • TE Cameron Brate: I have a feeling Brate will be used in a big way today.
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Pierre-Paul has been a stud this season and the Bucs need him to keep it up today.
  • DE Carl Nassib: How do the Browns feel right now? Nassib is a perfect for this defense and should have another good day.
  • DB Andrew Adams: With multiple injuries in the secondary, Tampa Bay will need another big performance from Adams.
NFL: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Andrew Adams stepped up in a big way against the Panthers.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans

  • QB Drew Brees: Do I really need to explain?
  • RB Alvin Kamara: Do I really need to explain, again?
  • RB Mark Ingram: Ok, I’ll elaborate here. The Bucs’ run defense has been garbage lately. Expect the Saints to pound the rock.
  • DE Cameron Jordan: The Saints’ defensive end is picking it up and that’s never a good thing for opposing offensive tackles.
  • LB Demario Davis: He’s been everything New Orleans hoped for when they signed him during the offseason.
  • DB Marshon Lattimore: He will be one of the main factors in stopping Tampa Bay’s passing attack
NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees will be ready to bounce back after a bad game in Dallas.
Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

Cool Stats

  • Since Week 7, the Buccaneers rank second in the NFL in sacks, tied for third in third-down percentage allowed and 10th in passing yards allowed per game during that span.
  • WR Adam Humphries had his first career multi-touchdown game in Week 9 at Carolina, catching two scores. Since that time, he’s added three more touchdown catches, tying for the league lead during that span. He’s tied with Davante Adams and Travis Kelce for the lead with five touchdowns.
  • Despite having played only 12 games, the team already ranks in the franchise’s top five in single-season passing yards and passing touchdowns, while ranking in the top 10 in total yards. The Bucs can surpass the all-time mark of 4,366 with 233 passing yards today.
  • The Buccaneers have recorded at least four sacks in each of the past three games. With four or more sacks against New Orleans, the team will tie a team record for consecutive games with at least four sacks (also: 11/14/04 at ATL-12/5/04 vs. ATL).
*stats provided by Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communication Department

Game Outlook

While both teams’ outlook on the season has changed since Week 1, this is still a rivalry game in a divisional matchup. Tampa Bay knows what is at stake here and should come out ready to go.

Anything is possible with the way the defense is playing right now. Add in the fact that the offense isn’t turning the ball over and all of sudden, Tampa Bay is a decent football team.

If they can keep it up in those two regards, then we could be looking at a three-game winning streak.