Tampa Bay is playing its second divisional game on the road in less than a month, but as we’ve seen so far, opposing stadiums are no issue for the Bucs.
They are currently 2-0 in road games on the year and will look to extend their record to 3-0 this weekend against the Saints.
First place in the division is on the line in this one. If the Bucs win, they’ll be 3-2 with a half-game lead over their division rivals and they hold the tiebreaker with the Carolina Panthers, who will also be 3-2 with a win this weekend.
Needless to say, it’s a big game.
Again. For like, the third time this season. And it’s only Week 5.
- All-time series history: New Orleans leads the series, 33-21. The Bucs are 9-15 at home and 12-18 on the road. The Saints won the last matchup, 28-14 in December.
- Playoff history: These teams have never met in the playoffs.
- Longest win streak: New Orleans won seven in a row from 2011-2014.
- Largest victory: Tampa Bay took a 41-0 whipping in 2012, which still stands as the largest margin of victory.
- 2019 offensive and defensive rankings: The Bucs have moved up to 10th in total offense (15th run, 8th pass) and 21st in total defense (31st pass, 1st run). Meanwhile, the Saints currently hold the 26th-best offense (24th pass, 19th run) and the 26th-best defense (24th pass, 20th run)
What To Watch For
- Stack wins: The Bucs can take first place in the NFC South if they win this game, but first, they’ll have to win back-to-back contests for the first time this year.
- Devin White’s return: Will the middle of the defense get a boost with his return? How effective will he be?
- Consistent Jameis: He’s been great the last three games. Can he keep it up?
- The Dome: It’s never easy to play in the Mercedes Benz Superdome and that won’t change this weekend.
- Stop Alvin Kamara: Pretty cut and dry, right?
- QB Jameis Winston: He’s been great the last three games and it’s imperative that he continues the good play.
- RB Ronald Jones II: Will this be another big game for RoJo?
- WR Mike Evans: Reunited with his best friend in Marshon Lattimore, Evans always comes to play against the Saints.
- MLB Devin White: Stopping Kamara and Jared Cook will likely rely on what White can do in his first game back from injury.
- OLB Shaq Barrett: The Bucs need him to continue pressuring opposing quarterbacks.
- The secondary: This unit needs to improve as a whole and this week won’t make things any easier.
- QB Teddy Bridgewater: With Drew Brees out, Bridgewater has stepped up his play and has led the Saints to a 2-0 record over his last two starts.
- RB Alvin Kamara: One of the best RBs in the league, he will be tough to stop.
- TE Jared Cook: A matchup nightmare over the middle.
- DE Cameron Jordan: Donovan Smith’s best friend will look to eat on Sunday.
- MLB Demario Davis: Davis is one of the most underrated middle linebackers in the NFL.
- CB Marshon Lattimore: Mike Evan’s best friend will look for redemption after Tampa Bay’s last trip to the dome.
- The Buccaneers have scored at least 30 points in each of the past two games. If the Buccaneers score 30 or more points at the Saints, it will tie the franchise record for the longest streak of games scoring at least 30 points (also 10/25/12 at Minnesota-11/11/12 vs. San Diego; 9/21/03 at Atlanta-10/12/03 at Washington).
- The Buccaneers have recorded at least 450 net yards in each of the past two games. If the team reaches at least 450 yards at the Saints, it will mark only the second time in team history that Tampa Bay has posted three consecutive games with at least 450 total yards (also 10/14/18 at Atlanta-10/28/18 at Cincinnati).
- The Buccaneers have allowed only 237 rushing yards this season. If the team holds New Orleans to 70 or fewer rushing yards, it will mark the fewest rushing yards allowed through five games in team history (301 in 2005).
*Stats provided by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Communications Department
This is going to be a tough one for the Bucs to win.
Not only are they going on the road for the second week in a row, but it’s in a hostile environment against a division rival. Add in the emotion involved with last week’s win and you’re already looking at an uphill battle.
Sean Payton is too good a head coach to not be able to take advantage of one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL. Sure, Bridgewater isn’t known for making dynamic plays, but he is a steady and calm quarterback who will do just enough to win.
The Bucs will have to be on their “A” game across the board this weekend if they want to even think about a victory.
Tampa Bay will be in this game for the full four quarters. This won’t be a blowout on either side of the ball, but unfortunately the Saints will make just enough plays to win.
The ups and downs of this season will continue, but there will still be plenty of excitement surrounding the franchise.