Will the third time be the charm? That is the question as the Buccaneers, and the Saints meet up for the third time this season in the NFC Divisional playoffs.
Many of us thought that these two teams would meet in the post-season, although we thought it would be in the NFC Championship game for the right to go to the Super Bowl.
The Bucs beat Washington 31-23 to advance to the division round, while the Saints took care of business against the Bears 21-9.
These teams hate each other. There is a lot of extracurricular activities on the field when these teams meet. Wide receiver Mike Evans said this week that the Saints are the Buc’s biggest rivalry.
“When we play each other, there is a lot of emotion, a lot of physicalities. As players, we love it. We love this rivalry. I know the fans love it. I would say it is our biggest rivalry.”
There is no question the Saints have owned the Bucs the last few seasons and this season in particular.
The Saints are 2-0 against Tampa this season, and the Saints have won both games convincingly, out scoring the Bucs 72-26.
Tom Brady has had his worst games this season against the Saints defense, while Drew Brees has played his best games against the Bucs defense.
In the Sunday night massacre at Raymond James Stadium in week nine, which the Saints won 38-3, Tom Brady had one of his career’s worst games.
Brady passed for 209 yards with three interceptions and was sacked three times. Brady finished with a QBR rating of 5.9.
Against the Saints this season, Brady has two touchdowns and five interceptions. Brady has also been sacked a total of six times.
Brees had his best game of the season in the 38-3 Saints win passing for 222 yards and four touchdowns.
There have been 22 occasions where a team played another team three times during the season and of those 22 matchups, the team that swept the season series was able to win the third matchup 14 times.
The Bucs offense will score points. This is a different offense than the one that the Saints saw in their previous games. Tom Brady is playing the best football of his career.
The Bucs are averaging a league best 347 yards a game since that week nine beat down and average 38 points a game.
In his last five games, Brady has passed for 1716 yards with 14 touchdowns and one interception.
The number one key offensively for the Bucs winning this game is to run the ball with authority against the Saints defense.
The Bucs were not able to do that in the 38-3 loss in week nine. The team had five carries for eight yards, as the Bucs abandoned the run game early on after falling behind 31-0.