TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (3-2) vs. New Orleans Saints (4-1)
Location: Tampa, FL
Announcers: Ron Pitts, Jim Mora, Jennifer Hale
Weather: 84°F, Partly Cloudy. Slight chance for Showers.
Line: Saints by 6.5
Injury Report: NEW ORLEANS — LB Will Herring (OUT), T Zach Strief (OUT), TE David Thomas (OUT), TE John Gilmore (PROBABLE), WR Devery Henderson (PROBABLE), LB Martez Wilson (PROBABLE), LB Jonathan Vilma (PROBABLE)
TAMPA BAY – WR Sammie Stroughter (OUT), RB LeGarrette Blount (OUT), TE Luke Stocker (OUT), DT Gerald McCoy (OUT), T James Lee (OUT), LB Zach Diles (OUT), LB Quincy Black (PROBABLE), , TE Kellen Winslow (Not Injury related, Expected to Play), LB Mason Foster (Questionable), CB Aqib Talib (Probable)
Key Matchup: Bucs Defense vs. Drew Brees
Last Week: Buccaneers lost to 49ers 48-3, Saints beat Panthers 30-27
Last Meeting: January 2, 2011 — Buccaneers 23, Saints 13
Series History (Since 2001): Buccaneers lead series 10-9
Last Minute Preview: The headline for the Bucs coming into this game can either be trying to rebound from a 45 point loss against a divisional opponent or the return of Tanard Jackson from a 56 week suspension. The obvious story is the Bucs can claim a share of first place with a win today. However that is being overshadowed by their 45 point spanking at the hands of the 49ers last week. All the Bucs need to do is refocus themselves and it will be a true test of this ‘Yungry’ team of just how well along they are mentally. If they let the loss last week dwell on them, the Saints will not be forgiving. Drew Brees is a dangerous quarterback and has shown no signs as of recent that he’s slowing down. However, his weaponry isn’t the same as it has been in the past. The Saints defense also isn’t what it once was and can easily be forced into giving up a shootout. The problem is the Bucs offense isn’t build, designed or ready for a shootout type game and if it comes to that the Bucs may suffer another embarrassing defeat.
But there is a firm belief that the Falcons are the superior team in the NFC South and if Tampa could hold them in check, and with Matt Ryan’s weaponry far outweighing that of the Saints, the Bucs can feed off that as a confidence booster. Just like last week when I predicted Freeman may not lead a comeback, the Bucs may do what they’re very good at doing, making their opponent look better than they really are. The Saints defense has been burned, but they also have Tampa’s number. The needle is titling in the Saints favor but hey, that’s the way Tampa likes it.