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New Orleans Saints look to channel recent success against Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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The Saints are 7-3 on the road against the Buccaneers under Payton, which includes winning four straight. Can they capture the magic to keep their season alive?

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Going into Week 14, it’s beyond desperation mode mode for the New Orleans Saints. Some might think it’s too late, but the reality is there’s some hope left if Sean Payton’s squad wants to make a run at the postseason. It starts with winning a road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a foe that the Saints have had pretty strong success over in the Sean Payton era.

The Saints have won four straight road contests against the Bucs, and are 13-7 against their NFC South rival since 2006. Believe it or not, that’s largely fueled by a 7-3 road performance by the Saints. The past four games have been decided by 7 points or less, with the Saints having come from behind victories in both 2014 matchups.

However, these aren’t your typical Buccaneers. Head coach Dirk Koetter is seeing results from second-year quarterback Jameis Winston, and the Bucs offense is the 12th-highest in the NFL with 4,347 yards (362.3 yards/game). They’ve really opened eyes on the defensive side of things, and have developed into one of the talks of the league after winning four straight games against the Bears, Chiefs, Seahawks, and Chargers. In that stretch, the defense has allowed a high of 21 points, and that was to San Diego.

Without question, the Saints offense crashed and burned in Week 13 after a 49-point effort against the Rams. Nothing went right, and they’ll have to pick up the tempo and convert the opportunities against a very hungry Bucs pass rush that’s averaging 3.2 sacks/game at home and 11th-highest in the NFL at 29.0 sacks. One thing that won’t happen is the Saints going the route of tanking for a higher draft pick, especially with them still being alive, but certainly clinging by a thread.