This weeks match up is a big division rival and a must win for the Bucs. If the Bucs are going to return to the postseason for the first time since the Super Bowl year, the next three weeks could be a determining factor. The Bucs start a 3 game road trip with the first stop in Louisiana. The Saint stopped a six game losing streak last week against the New York Jets, who remember beat the Buccaneers in week 5. However, the Buccaneers are not the N.Y. Jets and should stop the Saints. The Buccaneers Defense returns to the 2nd best Defense in the league after last weeks game.
The Saints started off the year with a horrible situation due to the Hurricane Katrina. The Saints lost their stadium due to hurricane damage. The poor Saints have not really had a home game yet this year. They also loss their star running back Deuce McAllister who is on I-R (he was also my fantasy running back for the past 3 years). This is a team that America has stood behind, but on Sunday I will be behind my Bucs. Sorry Saints, but the Bucs need this win.
The Bucs are coming off a excruciating home loss that they should have won against the Bears. In order for the Bucs to win Sunday against the Saints, the Defense must capitalize on Aaron Brooks turnovers, which will be there. Cadillac and the Offensive Line are the key to Sunday's wins. The running game should be there Sunday for a lot of yards, and offensive line needs to protect Simms better this week and open up the lanes for the Caddy. If the run game is successful, the passing game will follow. Our defense can also win the game Sunday by scoring Defensive touchdowns on an offense that dose give up the ball. I do not think this game will come down to field goals, but Matt Bryant (if healthy) or Todd France must be accurate Sunday and the rest of the season if we are to regain playoff form.
STANDINGS: Saints 3-8 -- Last Place, NFC South.
Buccaneers 7-4 -- 2nd Place, NFC South.
LAST MEETING: Dec 19, 2004; Buccaneers, 17-21. At Tampa Bay, New Orleans came back from a 10 point deficit with less than 4 minutes remaining in the game. Brooks threw a 7 yard TD to Stallworth for the game wining score.
BUCS-SAINTS SERIES: Tampa Bay is 9-17 all-time in the regular season vs. New Orleans.
WHERE: Baton Rouge, Louisiana @ Louisiana State University (Tiger Stadium).
WHEN: 12/04/2005 @1pm on Fox.
SAINTS TEAM RANK: Rushing Offense -- 116.9 yards per game (14th in NFL); Passing Offense -- 207.1 ypg (17th); Total Offense -- 324.0 ypg (17th). Rushing Defense -- 136.7 ypg (29th); Passing Defense -- 176.9 ypg (6th); Total Defense -- 313.6 ypg (13th).
BUCCANEERS TEAM RANK: Rushing Offense -- 111.5 yards per game (16th); Passing Offense -- 193.5 ypg (23rd); Total Offense -- 304.9 ypg (22nd). Rushing Defense -- 96.4 ypg (8th); Passing Defense -- 173.3 ypg (3rd); Total Defense -- 269.6 ypg (2nd).
STREAKS AND NOTES: Buccaneers -- DE Rice has six forced fumbles and is one shy of tying the franchise record. ... The Bucs have allowed only three of 11 opponents this season to score 20 points or more. ... Rookie RB Williams has rushed for at least 100 yards in three of four road games this season. Saints -- WR Stallworth has six TD receptions in his past six games. ... Brooks has thrown at least one TD pass in each of his seven career starts against the Bucs. ... Brooks has a 98.5 passer rating in his past three starts against Tampa Bay, including five TDs and one interception.
ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Buccaneers-- 3-2 on the road;Saints--1-4 at home.
INJURY REPORT: Bucs: PROBABLE: TE Anthony Becht (knee)QUESTIONABLE: S Will Allen (knee); K Matt Bryant (right hamstring); LB Marquis Cooper (chest); DE Dewayne White (hamstring).
Saints: QUESTIONABLE: S Steve Gleason (neck); WR Az-Zahir Hakim (back/ribs); WR Lance Moore (hamstring)OUT: TE Ernie Conwell (knee)
Favorite: Tampa Bay
Underdog: New Orleans