Sunday will make the 51st time the 2-5 Buccaneers have faced the 5-2 New Orleans Saints. The saints hold a 31-19 record against the Bucs. The Bucs are sporting an 8-14 home record, we haven’t fared too well away either 11-17.
The NFL 8th ranked offense comes to the big easy to play the NFL 15th ranked defense. Jameis Winston practiced Wednesday which means he is on track to get a full week of practice. Tampa should run behind their work horse, Doug Martin, to set up the play action pass. The New Orleans offense is rolling behind 3rd round rookie Alvin Kamara and veteran Mark Ingram. Tampa Bay defense must stop their much approved rushing attack.
December 11, 1977, a second year expansion team was in a desperate situation, going winless in their first year, it took the Bucs, 26 games to win its first, and it was against the same New Orleans Saints. Tampa would return 3 int’s for touchdowns that day, and Just like that the Saints became the yucs first victim. Archie Manning, said before the game “it would be disgraceful to lose to the 0-26, Buccaneers”. This loss would mark Hall of Fame coach Hank Stram last game as the Saints coach; he was given the pink slip the following week.
Starting off in different divisions, New Orleans was part of the NFC West and Tampa in the now defunct NFC Central. They played against each other every year from 81-92, 94-01; New Orleans dominated Tampa going 11 of 15.
2002 saw the newly constructed NFC South, now they played each other twice a year. 2002 saw New Orleans sweeping Tampa Bay, giving them half of the eventual Superbowl Champions losses. I remember watching Tom Tupa botching a punt in Overtime in our own end zone, heaving a desperate pass into the hands of the unblocked Fred McAfee for the game winning TD. Later that year in New Orleans, I watched Simeon Rice sack Aaron Brooks 3 times, but Brooks would toss two TD’s to beat Tampa, 23-20. We would eventually win it all in at Qualcomm stadium in San Diego.
The Saints would go 7-9, from 2003-2010, against their divisional rivals. Tampa would go to its last Playoff game in 2006, and haven’t been back. New Orleans would go to win the 2010 Superbowl. From 2011-2016, Bucs have had a horrible 2-9 record, against the Saints. One point the Saints won 7 in a row. Sunday is DO or DIE for Tampa Playoff chance this year. If Tampa can stop the running game and make them one dimensional I think we have a chance to win, but we need some kind of pass rush from the front four to free the linebackers for coverage. From Archie Manning to Aaron Brooks and future Hall of Famer Drew Brees, as a Buc fan, you have to respect the rivalry between these two teams.