TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (4-3) at NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (5-3)
Sunday, 1:00 P.M. ET, FOX, Direct TV (708), Sirius (TB 136, NO 86)
Because we all want to know what the “bleep” happened to the Saints? New Orleans scored 83 points over the last two games. Unfortunately, 62 of them came two weeks ago in the beat-down of hapless Indianapolis. Then they stumbled against then win-less St. Louis Rams playing without Sam Bradford. How did that happen? Can the Saints bounce back? Do the Buccaneers take advantage? So many questions for one little game.
What To Watch
In their first meeting, the Buccaneers rushed to a 20-10 half time lead, then intercepted Drew Brees at their own four yard line to snuff out the Saints’ rally in the closing moments of the game. The pick was one of four turnovers the Bucs imposed on the Saints that day. Turnovers, by stellar defense, or sloppy Saints play, could give the Cinderella Bucs an insurmountable advantage over the Saints.
The Saints one of the NFL’s most potent offenses, second only to Philadelphia going into Week Nine. They are the league’s highest scoring team and have doubled (in eight games) Tampa Bay’s output (seven games). Saints tight end Jimmy Graham may be the league’s best at his position. The issue with the Saints is not Brees’ 10 interceptions. He has 19 TD passes after all. It’s New Orleans’ defense that is not keeping up. The Saints have a mere four picks. For whatever reason, opponents target CB Jabari Greer who has defended more passes than any other Saint.
Bucs QB Josh Freeman won his last two games against the Saints. Now, he gets help with the return of RB LeGarrette Blount.
Who Will Win
If the Saints do not help the Bucs with sloppy ball control, they should win this handily.