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Buccaneers @ Saints: Game Preview

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Official NFL Release

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (9-6) AT NEW ORLEANS SAINTS (11-4)

SERIES

BUCCANEERS

SAINTS

SERIES LEADER

22-15

STREAKS

3 of past 5

COACHES VS. OPP.

Morris: 1-2

Payton: 5-4

LAST WEEK

W 38-15 vs. Seahawks

W 17-14 at Falcons

LAST GAME

10/17/10: Saints 31 at Buccaneers 6.  New Orleans QB Drew Brees passes for 263 yards & 3 TDs for 109.2 rating as Saints score game's 1st 24 points en route to victory. 

LAST GAME AT SITE

12/27/09: Buccaneers 20 at Saints 17 (OT).  Tampa Bay K Connor Barth connects on game- winning 47-yard FG in OT to propel Buccaneers to victory. 

BROADCAST

FOX (12:00 PM CT): Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Charissa Thompson (Field reporter).  Westwood One Radio: Howard David, Tony Boselli.  SIRIUS: 123 (TB), 90 (NO).  XM: 110 (NO). 

STATS

PASSING

Freeman: 270-448-3,196-23-6-93.6

Brees: 426-620-4,424 (1C)-32 (1C)-21-92.2

RUSHING

Blount (R): 182-941-5.2-6

Ivory (R): 130-683-5.3-5

RECEIVING

Winslow (TE): 63-702-11.1-5

Colston: 84 (T3C)-1,023-12.2-7

OFFENSE

336.3

377.0 (3C)

TAKE/GIVE

+8

-5

DEFENSE

334.5

305.5 (1C)

SACKS

White: 4.5

Ellis: 6

INTs

Barber: 3

Greer, Jenkins: 2

PUNTING

Malone: 41.5

Morstead: 46.4 (3C)

KICKING

Barth: 94 (34/34 PAT; 20/25 FG)

Hartley: 93 (39/39 PAT; 18/23 FG)

 

NOTES

BUCCANEERS 1st team since 1970 to start 10+ rookies & have winning season (excl. 1987)...QB JOSH FREEMAN completed 21 of 26 (80.8 pct.) for 237 yards with 5 TDs vs. 0 INTs for career-high 144.2 rating last week.  His 5 TDs tied franchise record...Rookie RB LE GARRETTE BLOUNT rushed for career-high 164 yards in Week 16 & aims for 3rd in row with 100+ yards.  Leads NFL rookies with 941 rush yards & needs 59 to reach 1,000.  RB CADILLAC WILLIAMS has rushed for 336 yards (112 per game) & TD in 3 games at NO...WR MIKE WILLIAMS had 2 TDs last week.  Leads NFL rookies with 61 catches, 924 rec. yards & 10 rec. TDs.  His 10 rec. TDs are most by rookie in team history.  TE KELLEN WINSLOW had 7 catches for 98 yards & 2 TDs last wk.  WR-KR MICHEAL SPURLOCK aims for 3rd in row vs. NO with TD (1 rec., 1 KR)...CB RONDE BARBER has recorded 3 INTs in game 2 times in career; both vs. NO (12/23/01 & 12/4/05).  LB GENO HAYES had career-high 2 sacks last week...

SAINTS QB DREW BREES has 4,424 yards, 2nd most in franchise history behind his team-record 5,069 in 2008.  Has 426 completions, his NFL-record 3rd 400-completion season.  In 10 starts vs. TB, has completed 225 of 332 (67.8 pct.) for 2,491 yards with 21 TDs vs. 8 INTs for 100.9 rating.  Aims for 4th in row vs. TB with 100+ rating...RB CHRISTOPHER IVORY is 2nd among NFL rookies with 683 rush yards.  RB-PR REGGIE BUSH has 65-yard PR-TD & 42-yard rec. TD in career vs. TB.  RB PIERRE THOMAS has 8 TDs (5 rush, 3 rec.) in past 9 division games...WR MARQUES COLSTON has 1,023 rec. yards.  Is 1st Saint with 1,000+ rec. yards in 4 of 1st 5 NFL seasons.  WR ROBERT MEACHEM had career-high 10 catches (101 yards) last week.  Has 4 TDs in past 3 meetings & aims for 4th in row vs. TB with TD.  WR LANCE MOORE aims for 3rd in row vs. TB with TD.  Rookie TE JIMMY GRAHAM has 3 TDs in past 2...DE WILL SMITH has sack in 2 of past 3 meetings.  Had sack last wk.  S ROMAN HARPER had 2 FFs in last game vs. TB.  S MALCOLM JENKINS had 1st career INT vs. TB (11/22/09). 

   

The Buccaneers improved to 9-6 last week with a 38-15 win over Seattle behind JOSH FREEMAN's five touchdown passes.  Tampa Bay, which became the first team since the 1970 merger to start at least 10 different rookies and have a winning season, needs a win and losses by both Green Bay and the New York Giants to clinch a playoff spot. 

"These are our playoffs," says Buccaneers tackle DONALD PENN.  "For us, it's win or we're out."

The defending champion Saints secured a postseason berth with a victory over Atlanta last week.  New Orleans can claim the NFC South and homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs with a victory and a Falcons loss. 

"The way I feel about this team, it doesn't matter if we play at home or on the road," says Saints quarterback DREW BREES, who is the first player with at least 400 completions in three different seasons.  "We're battle tested.  We're playing with a lot of confidence.  We trust one another.  There's no task that we don't feel like we can accomplish."