Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-7) at New Orleans Saints (5-8)
Both of these teams lost big time games last week in very different ways. The Saints had a chance to barely stay alive in a wide open NFC playoff hunt, and take a shot at the World Champs in the process. Instead they were thumped in the rain, and alloed 52 points and about a billion yards to a rookie running back.
The Bucs, on the other hand, lost a game they kind of floated through. They were either distracted by the Super Bowl aspect of the day or they just weren’t into the game but no matter which way you look at it, the Bucs lost yet another game that they should have won.
I want to cite the 2010 Detroit Lions here. That team was a step behind and a second too late in so many games that year but for the first time in a while we say the outline of actual talent on a team in Detroit. They used that in the 2011 season to make the playoffs for the first time since 1999, and while they took a step back this year, they proved that teams on the cusp don’t go away.
The hope here is that whatever the Bucs have going on right now, snowballs into next season. The schedule might be a little tougher but it will by no means be a brutal tour. The offense is coming together like it never has before for any team in franchise history, and it feels like the defense is a few pieces away form being pretty close to lights out.
Tampa’s secondary is holding it back from being amazing this season, and it’s the fact that this team is just one step away from exploding that makes this so exciting. The prospect of making the playoffs is dead (which is good in my opinion, bad in the eyes of my colleague who argues his point very well). But no matter which side of the playoff isle you’re on, one thing is certain that we can all agree on: this team is going somewhere.
It’s games like this we have to gauge the progress. No, it’s not a classic Saints team but it’s one that sucker punched the high riding Bucs a few weeks back. While the playoffs may not be on the line here, pride is and when it’s the Bucs and the Saints, had the playoffs been on the line that would have taken a back seat.
This team is going up, it has no ceiling it seems. But we’re not to the point where we can flex our Bucs muscles freely yet and it’s still games like this that can harsh this awesome buzz that’s starting to go around Tampa.
Location: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Time: 1:00pm ET/Noon CT
Nat’l TV: N/A
Bucs TV: FOX
Away TV: FOX
Announcers: Thom Brennaman/Brian Billick
Live Stream: NFL Live Stream
Radio: WDAE 620AM (Tampa), WWL 870AM (New Orleans)
Satellite Radio: Sirius 829 (Bucs Feed), Sirius 819 (Saints feed Feed)
Line: Saints -4.0
Last Week: Buccaneers lost to Eagles 23-21, Saints lost to Giants 52-27
Last Meeting: October 21, 2012 – Buccaneers 28, Saints 35
Series History (Since 2001): Series tied 11-11
Key Bucs Storyline: Will the Bucs get revenge on the Saints and get back to .500 in the process?
Opposing View: Can the Saints bounce back from a brutal loss last week against the Giants?
Prediction: Bucs 24, Saints 31
Follow @ThePewterPlank for the latest Buccaneers news.