Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Photo Courtesy of @Buccaneers via X (Twitter).

NFC South Rivalry: Bucs vs Saints Preview

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-1) travel to New Orleans to face the Saints (2-1) on Sunday. Each team is looking to bounce back from Week 3 losses.

Week 3 Recaps

Despite the Saints leading 17-0 going into the fourth quarter, the Green Bay Packers rallied to score 18 unanswered points to earn the victory.

Saints starting quarterback Derek Carr produced the lead, but left the game in the third quarter with a shoulder injury.

Backup quarterback Jameis Winston was unable to maintain the lead for New Orleans, with his first four drives resulting in punts as the Packers took an 18-17 lead. However, Winston did give the Saints an opportunity to win.

The Saints marched to the Packers’ 28-yard line to setup a 46-yard field goal for rookie kicker Blake Grupe with 1:10 left on the clock. Unfortunately for the Saints, Grupe’s kick was wide right.

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The Philadelphia Eagles dominated the Buccaneers 25-11 on Monday Night Football.

The Bucs trailed the whole way, but a late game touchdown pass to Mike Evans made the loss more bearable for Tampa Bay.

Overall, the Buccaneers’ offense was unproductive. Quarterback Baker Mayfield threw for only 146 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Additionally, the Bucs’ run game was non-existent. On 17 attempts, the Bucs ran for just 41 yards. Second-year running back Rachaad White also lost a fumble, and was brought down in the Bucs’ end zone for a safety.

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Saints Storylines

The Saints will likely be without Carr, who was diagnosed with an AC joint sprain. Carr missed practice on Wednesday and Thursday, and first team reps instead went to Winston.

Winston is very familiar with the Buccaneers organization. Drafted No. 1 overall in 2015, Winston spent the first five years of his career wearing red and pewter. The Bucs decided not to re-sign Winston in 2020, and instead chose to sign Tom Brady.

This is not the first time Winston has faced his old team. While backing up Drew Brees in the 2020 divisional round, Winston threw one pass, a 56-yard touchdown to Tre’Quan Smith. Additionally, he has faced the Bucs twice before as a starter. In 2021, Winston faced Tampa in Week 8, a game in which he would suffer a torn ACL. He also faced the Bucs in Week 2 of the 2022 season, a game in which he threw three interceptions en route to a loss.

For the first time this season, five-time pro bowler Alvin Kamara will take the field for the Saints. Kamara was suspended for the first three games of the season due to an altercation outside of a Las Vegas nightclub in February 2022.

Evans-Lattimore Rivalry

For years, Bucs receiver Mike Evans and Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore have feuded.

The two have gotten into scuffles twice, both at the Caesars Superdome. The most recent quarrel came last season in Week 2, a game in which both players got ejected and Evans got suspended for the subsequent game.

Evans, who is an impending free agent, is off to a red-hot start in 2023. In three games, he has recorded 17 catches for 297 yards and three touchdowns.

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Preview

This is the first NFC South matchup of the year for the Buccaneers. The reigning divisional champions swept the Saints in both contests last year.

For each of the last six seasons, either the Bucs or the Saints won the NFC South.

The game kicks off at 1 p.m. on Sunday.

About Lance Williams

Lance Williams is a first-year Economics major with a minor in Mass Communications, and an aspiring play-by-play broadcaster.

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