The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to add their seventh division title in team history Sunday when they take on the New Orleans Saints in a game the Bucs need to win to have a shot at home field advantage in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay enters the game against the Saints with a 10-3 record overall and are in first place in the NFC South. The last matchup between Tampa Bay and New Orleans this season saw the Saints hand the Bucs one of their three losses this season, 36-27.
The Saints have owned the regular season series against the Bucs, winning six straight over Tampa Bay. But, in the playoffs last year, Brady and the Bucs knocked the Saints out of the playoffs and sent quarterback Drew Brees into retirement.
Unlike the first meeting this season, New Orleans will have a different quarterback. The Saints lost Jamies Winston to an ACL tear in the first game against the Bucs. Trevor Siemian replaced Winston in that game, but this time, the Saints will roll out Taysom Hill to take on the Bucs.
In his last game, Hill threw for 175 yards and ran another 11 times for 73 yards and two touchdowns. New Orleans running back Alvin Kamara also ran the ball 27 times for 120 yards and a touchdown last Sunday.
However, those Saints numbers were against the 3-10 New York Jets. This week, the Bucs roll out one of the top rushing defenses in the NFL.
Through last Sunday’s win over the Buffalo Bills, the Bucs defense has allowed just 1,185 rushing yards this season and just nine rushing touchdowns. Those numbers have the Bucs rushing defense ranked third in rushing yards allowed and sixth in rushing touchdowns allowed this season.
Don’t sleep on the Bucs’ passing defense either. The Bucs are tied for fourth in the NFL with 35 total sacks this season and are fourth best in the league when it comes to interceptions in the regular season.
Offensively, the Bucs lead the NFL in passing yards, passing touchdowns, most passing first downs, and fewest number of sacks allowed. All of that comes thanks to the ageless play of the NFL’s greatest quarterback of all-time, Tom Brady. But, in his time in Tampa Bay, Brady has failed to do one thing, beat the Saints in the regular season.
If Brady can finally knock off New Orleans on Sunday Night Football, it will carry added weight as the Bucs would be the NFC South Division Champs and have three games to go to fight for home field advantage in the playoffs. They currently sit tied with the Arizona Cardinals and Green Bay Packers at 10-3.
Since the Bucs haven't and won't play the Packers or the Cardinals, there is no applicable head-to-head-to-head tiebreaker. Instead we go to the next step, which is record against conference opponents, and Green Bay's 8-2 record tops the 6-3 marks for both the Bucs and the Cardinals.
Home field advantage is no small thing either. Tampa Bay is undefeated in their home stadium this season, boasting a perfect 6-0 record thus far.
The Bucs and Saints will kick off at 8:20 p.m. at Raymond James Stadium Sunday. The way too early weather forecast looks to be partly cloudy with a high in the low 80s during the day and dropping into the upper 60s at night with the National Weather Service putting a 20 percent chance of rain in the forecast for Sunday.