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What The Buc to Look For – Bucs vs Saints

The Buccaneers look to end a four-game losing streak against the division-leading New Orleans Saints. Can Tampa Bay pull off the upset?

The Numbers

Records: Tampa Bay 2-5, New Orleans 5-2

Game Time/Network: 1:00 pm EST, Fox, Thom Brennaman, Chris Spielman.

Spread: New Orleans -7

Series: New Orleans leads the series 31-19

Rankings

Tampa Bay – Offense (18th in scoring, 4th overall, 2nd passing, 29th rushing), Defense (24th in scoring, 29th overall, 30th vs. the pass, 17th vs. the run)

New Orleans – Offense (6th in scoring, 2nd overall, 4th passing, 14th rushing), Defense (12th in scoring, 20th overall, 17th vs. the pass, 21st vs. the run)

Buccaneers Player to Watch

Jameis Winston had a rough outing last week against his nemesis, the Carolina Panthers. Winston, dealing with an injury to his throwing shoulder, has been pretty good this season, improving in almost every statistical category while keeping his turnovers down (last week withstanding). Unfortunately for Tampa Bay, they don’t have enough talent on defense to compete on a consistent basis, so Winston is going to find himself in shootouts all season.

Saints Player to Watch

Rookie CB Marshon Lattimore is the talk of the league. Pro Football Focus is a fan, rating him the 3rd best player in the league – not rookie – overall – the third best player in the league! High praise for the young corner whose been making highlight reel plays while facing off against some of the NFL’s best receivers. Per PFF, Lattimore is yet to surrender more than 38 receiving yards in a game and opposing quarterbacks have just a 33.3 passer rating when targeting him in coverage.

When the Bucs Have The Ball

If Tampa Bay has any chance to stay with the Saints, the Bucs offense can’t start slowly as they have all season. The Bucs have scored just 58 points in the first half of games, an average of 8.2 points per game. That’s got to be better this week as their opponent is averaging 13 pts a game in the first half. The Bucs also have to get a running game going and have some time-consuming drives to limit the opportunity of the Saints offense against their defense.

When the Saints Have the Ball

As always, Drew Brees is a phenomenal football player who continues to re-write NFL record books. It seems it doesn’t matter who is with him, Brees will flirt with 5,000 yds and 40 touchdowns every year. One thing he’s done a much better job of this season is cutting down the turnovers. New Orleans has just 7 turnovers on the season. The Bucs need to increase that number and steal some possessions. In addition, the Bucs have to get off the field on third down. The Bucs have the league’s worst 3rd down percentage at 48.98%. Last year, the Bucs led the NFL in 3rd down percentage. The Saints are the league’s best offense at converting on third down so it’s going to be a tall order for the Bucs to improve on their numbers in this game.

Weird Fact that May Only Interest Me

  • If the Bucs played all their games at home, they’d have the second-best scoring defense in the league averaging just 16.5 ppg. Unfortunately, they do have to play on the road, where they are dreadful, surrendering a league-worst 34 ppg.
  • Winston has thrown for 777 yds, 7 TDs, and 3 ints in his past 3 road division games for a QB Rating of 101.6.
  • In his past 6 home games vs. Tampa Bay, Brees has thrown for 1871 yds, 14 TD and 5 ints for a 102.6 QB Rating.
  • Brees is 15-8 in his career vs. Tampa Bay with a 94.2 QB Rating.
  • Brees has thrown more interceptions vs. Tampa Bay than any other team in the league.
  • In 9 career November games, Winston is 6-3, throwing for 2,303 yds, 15 TDs and 5 ints for a QB Rating of 93.9.
J.C. De La Torre

J.C. De La Torre

JC De La Torre is formerly a columnist/blogger for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers blog site BucsNation.com where in 2016, he was nominated as best sportswriter in Tampa Bay by Creative Loafing. Previously, he served as a featured columnist for Bleacher Report on Tampa Bay sports, an editor and featured columnist for SB Nation Tampa Bay covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Florida Gators, wrote for NFL.com’s Blog Blitz and contributed to Pewter Report, one of the top magazines on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. JC is also a filmmaker, comic writer and rabid Whovian.

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