New Orleans Saints (1-0) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
Sunday September 15 3:05PM Kickoff WWL Radio
Last week’s results: New Orleans beat Atlanta 23-17 and NY Jets beat Tampa Bay 18-17
This week’s NFC South Games: Carolina (0-1) visits Buffalo (0-1) while Atlanta (0-1) host St. Louis (1-0)
Series History: The Saints lead the series 25-17. New Orleans swept the Bucs in 2012
Saints Bits N Pieces
Whose Defense was that? Yup that’s what the Falcons players and coaches were saying last week after the Saints new look Defense plucked dem dirty birds. The Black and Gold Defense was outstanding last week allowing just 17 points and the Saints third down defense was solid allowing the Falcons to go 3-of-11.
The Bucs will look to get RB Doug Martin on track so limiting his yards will be key. The Saints did a good job of getting pressure on Matt Ryan last week and I fully expected Coach Rob Ryan to go after Mr. Freeman as well.
I’ll go in on halves with that! The Saints end of a half defense was salty last week. The Falcons had possession in the final two minutes of each half but failed to score either time. New Orleans rattled Falcons QB Matt Ryan as Ice Ice maybe was only 4-of-9 with an interception in those situations a week ago. Let’s do it again this week.
Better in the Red Zone. The Saints were 1-3 in their trips inside the Falcons Red Zone last week. Now the bottom line is winning which the Saints did. But had the Black and Gold got seven instead of three late in that game, the Falcons would have been put to sleep much earlier.
When the Saints get into the Red Zone this week, let’s hope for 7’s and not 3’s. You feel me?
Tampa Bay Bucs notes of interest
No his first name ain’t baby. It’s Vincent, Mr. Jackson if you’re nasty! Bucs WR Vincent Jackson went off against the Saints last year when the two teams met in Tampa Bay. Jackson hauled in seven receptions for a franchise record 216 yards in the Bucs 35-28 loss to New Orleans. The speedster averaged 30.9 yards per grab in that meeting. New Orleans did cool Jackson off in the second meeting but he still had 81 yards receiving in the Saints 41-0 win in round two last season. Let’s hope a pattern is not forming here. Jackson will be Josh Freeman’s primary target as he seven catches for 154 yards last week in the Bucs 18-17 loss to the Jets. Jackson will get his. But just don’t give up the big play. Please!
He’s a Free-Man! Bucs QB Josh Freeman can extend plays and that makes him very dangerous. Freeman had a career high 420 passing yards the last time the Saints were in Tampa. Freeman is all about confidence. What I’m saying is if he gets off to a slow start then he will more than likely struggle. Last week Freeman completed less than 50 percent of his passes and finished with a QB rating of less than 68. Freeman may do better this week after facing a defense last week that likes to be as aggressive as the Saints
Teach me how to Dougie: Bucs RB Doug Martin became one of the best young players last season in the NFL. Martin had 122 total yards when he faced the Saints in Tampa last fall. Doug Martin only had 65 yards on 24 carries with a touchdown versus the Jets. If Martin does well then QB Josh Freeman will have less pressure on him and that is a good thing for the Bucs but a bad thing for the Saints.
Questions about this game
Who’s going to be on the run! You can best believe that the one thing that both the Saints and Bucs currently have in common is their running game. Or should I say lack thereof. Tampa only rushed for 65 yards last week in their loss to the Jets while the Saints weren’t much better with 78 rushing yards versus the Falcons.
The Saints had 29 rushing attempts last week which was the team’s most attempts in a game since the Black and Gold rushed the ball 35 times versus the Lions in 2009. Coach Sean Payton is committed to running the football but if there is not much production from a yards gained stand point how long can the Saints afford to stick with the run without good results? 2.7 yards per rush is not enough. The goal is four yards per rush on average.
The Saints Rush Defense was solid last week. Although the numbers say a little different, the outcome was just what the Saints needed. Atlanta gained 88 yards on 14 carries last week. 1 of those carries was for 50 yards. The other 13 carries only totaled 38 yards.
The Saints can’t allow another big run like they did against Atlanta when RB Stephen Jackson reeled off a 50 yard scamper. Outside of that run the Saints Defense allowed just 2.9 yards per attempt. That my friend is outstanding!
No Cannons please Cajun!
Each time the Bucs score that big ole loud cannon inside the Pirate Ship inside of Raymond James Stadium goes off. The less we here of that Cannon, the better we are. Our Cannon, Cajun that is, going off loud is ok. Sometimes! Who Dat.
What they are saying
Tampa Bay Coach Greg Schiano on his running game struggles in week one against the NY Jets. Tampa rushed for only 65 yards in their 18-17 loss to the Jets last weekend.
“Well, we need to block better, number one, then we need to run the ball a little bit better, but I think until we block better, I can’t really judge the running. We need to be able to throw the ball better when we are faced with an uphill running situation. When I say that, they out number us and it’s a little bit like slamming your head into a wall at some times, but if you can’t make them pay, they are going to keep doing it. If you make them pay in the pass game, then you can run them out of it sometimes. That’s probably our biggest challenge, but to do all of those things we need to take care of the little things. We aren’t missing on the big, big things, we are missing on the little things, little details and that is my responsibility as a head coach. I’m not getting that communicated or done correctly and we have to find a way to do that. That’s the plan and we are going to go out there and try and do the best we can at it, but the clock is ticking and we know that.”
Tampa QB Josh Freeman when asked about the Bucs rush attack struggles against the Jets
“The running game is going to fine. The Jets have a pretty good front seven. They stayed base a lot of the time. They made some things happen up front with twists and different stunts. Sometimes that can happen in the first game of the year playing a team, you face so many multiple stunts, different pressures and different coverages, it’s not that crazy. We would have liked to have run the ball better and thrown the ball better. We were trying to get the offensive line in a rhythm. I think those guys will do just fine.”
Saints Coach Sean Payton on opening the season with two NFC South foes.
“Last night at the end of that game, they interviewed Vince Wilfork from New England. Three or four different times during that interview he brought up the importance of playing division games and how they matter. It (New England) was an example of a team that went on the road and then came back home and won a game. I just finished talking to the players about that same topic and understanding that when you are playing in the division, they are all tough games. When the season ends and you look back on even Atlanta’s team a year ago with as many wins as they had, they split with New Orleans, they split with Tampa Bay, and they split with Carolina. It’s hard to win in the division. Certainly, it is hard to win on the road in the division.”
Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan on the challenges of facing the Bucs Offense.
“They are physical. They want to be physical. I think their back (Doug Martin) is a hit and roller. He’s tough; he’s a genuine guy. We have to get after him and wrap him up. He’s a hard tackle in this league. Obviously, (there are) big play threats that they have in their wide receivers (Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams) and that quarterback (Josh Freeman). We got our work cut out for us. We are going into a hostile environment, and we’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ve been working hard and we know it’s going to be a great challenge.”
The Big Chief’s Final Analysis
The Bucs, like the Saints will try to and need to run the football. New Orleans has shown a strong commitment to the run. But 29 times only yielded 78 yards for a meager 2.7 yards per carry.
Tampa is a desperate team. It’s only the second week of the season but if the Bucs fall to the Saints they would drop to 0-2 facing a road trip to take on the New England Patriots next week. I think it’s key for the Saints to get off to a hot start in this game.
The sooner the Saints get ahead of the Bucs and put more pressure on Bucs Coach Greg Schiano to abort his game plan and call on his struggling QB Josh Freeman to pass the football. Freeman looks like a QB that is on the verge of really losing his grip on the QB job in Tampa.
Freeman completed less than fifty percent of his passes last week in a 18-17 loss to the NY Jets. RB Doug Martin will look to get on track early in the game after the Bucs only gained 65 yards on the ground last week.
I like the Saints to win this one. The Saints and Bucs have played some close battles over the years. But I think the Black and Gold win have less trouble this week than they did a week ago against Atlanta.
Remember Who Dats, in the Sean Payton era, the first four games are a telling sign of the rest of the season. In 2006, 2009, 2010 and 2011, the Saints were solid in their first four games. During those playoff seasons the Saints were either 3-1 or 4-0. A win against Tampa gives the Saints a 2-0 mark with two straight home games to follow.
Take the Black and Gold, lay the three points and take home the money!
Big Chief Says: New Orleans 27 Tampa Bay 17