Payton’s main work for this week is keeping the team up, the emotional victory over Atlanta is meaningless if the Saints turn around and lose to Tampa this weekend.
On paper everything is adding up to a win for the Saints. Tampa’s offense doesn’t seem to be a unit that should strike a lot of fear in opposing defenses, but after their performance against the Jets on opening day, they have plenty of motivation to get better. The strength of their defense is their secondary, which gives their pass rush a little more time to get to the QB.
Another tough divisional match-up, sometimes it’s good to catch a team early in the season when you have to play them at their place, this looks like it could be one of those times.
When Tampa has the ball:
The Saints defense under Ryan showed a surprisingly effective pass rush against Atlanta, and they will need another good effort from the front line this weekend. With Bunkley out, it’s time for Foster to step up and show that he can carry the load at nose tackle.
The defense also needs to keep up the strong effort against the running game. With Freeman struggling, Tampa tends to lean on the running game. And with the injuries the Saints had to the interior line in the Atlanta game, stopping the running game will be key.
When the Saints have the ball:
On offense the Saints need to keep the running game going, the run/pass mix was good against Atlanta but it would have been nice to have seen some more yards cranked out on the ground, especially from Ingram.
The match-up to watch though is the Saints passing game against the Buc’s secondary, with Revis manning one corner the Bucs have one of the true “shutdown” corners in the league. The question is, how good is the rest of the unit?
Quote of the week from the Atlanta game:
“That was not their 2012 defense,” added Falcons coach Mike Smith.
My Prediction Saints 27 Tampa Bay 17
Saints all time record against Tampa Bay:
|Team||Wins||Losses||Ties||Winning Percentage||Last time they Played||Date||Location|
|Tampa Bay||24||18||0||.560||Saints 41 – Bucs 0||12/16/2012||New Orleans, La.|