Gridiron Gab Week Seven Preview – New Orleans at Tampa Bay

Coming off the bye week, the Saints look to keep the momentum of their first win two weeks ago up as they travel to Tampa to play their NFC South rivals the Bucs Sunday.

The Saints finally showed signs of life after an 0-4 start, topping the Chargers 31-24 at home on Oct. 7.

“We’re still very confident,” safety Roman Harper said. “Nothing has really changed. I understand we lost some games, but you can’t let them see you sweat. We understand we’re right on the cusp of greatness. We just have to go out there and achieve it.”

A huge issue for the Saints is they rank last in the league allowing 456.0 yards per contest, including 172.8 (31st) on the ground.

Even if linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is appealing a season-long suspension in connection with the NFL’s bounty scandal, manages to see the field Sunday, New Orleans faces a serious challenge against a Tampa Bay team that set season highs with 145 rushing yards and 318 passing in last Sunday’s 38-10 rout of Kansas City.

The Saints will look to Drew Brees to throw early and often against the Bucs secondary. Last season Brees threw for 383 yards with a touchdown pass to Marques Colston, but was intercepted three times during a 26-20 loss at Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers last week held the awful Chiefs last week to just 260 total yards, and stopped running back Jamaal Charles to just 40 on 12 carries. They will need that type of effort again, as right now they still are giving up 312.2 yards a game in the air, which means easy pickings for Brees.

These teams have split their last eight meetings, including the last four at Raymond James, where the Bucs have won two of three since dropping their final three there last season.

Josh Freeman threw for 328 yards with three touchdowns while Mike Williams and Vincent Jackson combined for eight receptions for 179 yards and three scores versus Kansas City. Freeman has completed 60 percent of his passes for 627 yards with four TDs and two picks in two games since he went 10 of 28 for 110 during a 16-10 loss at Dallas on Sept. 23.

The Saints passing game, which should be even more refreshed off the bye, should be more than enough to outplay the Bucs offense, meaning an easy win in Tampa for New Orleans.

New Orleans 27 Tampa Bay 10

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