The first quarter of the NFL has ended and now we are at the start of the second quarter. The Saints will get their first taste of division play against the Buccaneers this Sunday. The Saints are coming off two big victories in the absence of Drew Brees. The Buccaneers have been a seesaw so far, losing both home games but winning both road contests. The rivalry between these squads started in 2002 when the divisions were realigned. Here is a more in-depth look at this match-up:
This will be the 55th game between these two teams. The Saints lead the all-time series at 33-21. More than half of those games have happened as division opponents. Before they became that, the Saints were very dominant against the Bucs, winning 13 out of 20 games in a 22 year span. Since then, Tampa Bay has gotten better taking their fair share of victories. But even then, the Saints still have the upper hand overall.
Level of Competition
As of late, both teams seem to play a competitive game no matter how lopsided the talent may be. Last year, the Bucs shocked everybody beating the Saints in the season opener. Even then, since Brees arrived in 2006, the Saints still manage to win the majority of the games year after year. Ironically, they swept the season series in 2002 and yet Tampa went on to win the Super Bowl that year. That was the first time a scenario like that occurred in team history.
What To Expect
The biggest thing about this match-up is that you never know what to expect. The Bucs have been the one team in the division that gives the Saints trouble every year. Even if they do not win, the game will be close. This year will be no different after Tampa upset the Rams last week on the road. Virtually, it will come down to wish Tampa team will show up on Sunday. Will we see the team that put up stout performances on the road? Will we see the team that gave up a big halftime lead against a rookie quarterback? Only time will tell.
In conclusion, we should expect a very good game no matter what. This will be the third start for Teddy Bridgewater and ultimately he needs to produce heavily against Tampa’s defense. On the other side, Jameis Winston needs to make up his mind which side of him will show out. If the Saints defense can prove the pressure like they have all season, it is going to be a long day for him. But as history will tell us, anything is possible when these teams met.