| About us | Privacy Policy | Contact us | Sitemap
Home News Forum Blog Standings Roster Players Schedule Depth Chart Stats Photos Videos
tampa Tampa...
All the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
chicago-bears-tampa-bay-buccaneers-nfl-football-game-soldier-field Chicago Bears Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL football game Soldier Field...
All the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.
jon-gruden Jon Gruden...
All the latest Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photos Store photographs. Football NFL.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers News

News » Inside the Game


Inside the Game


Inside the Game
Kickoff: Noon at Raymond James Stadium


Coaches: New Orleans' Sean Payton (23-20 in three seasons, all with the Saints), Tampa Bay's Jon Gruden (x-x overall, x-x in x seasons with Bucs)

TV: Fox-8. Radio: 870-AM (and Spanish broadcast on 830-AM)

KEEP AN EYE ON

Reggie Bush: A big question for the Saints this week is how Bush, who hasn't played since Oct. 19, will affect an offense that seemed to reach its peak without him in last Monday's 51-29 win over Green Bay. Bush has said for certain that he will be "able to do everything that I was doing before I got injured," punt returns and all. But even if he is able, can the Saints' offense possibly be more explosive and productive that it was against the Packers? How will players who have been filling in for injured stars, but have become the some of the most consistent on the team -- such as Lance Moore and Billy Miller -- be affected by the return? Will Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colston still get ample opportunities to get back on track? Bush will undoubtedly change the balance of the offense, and this is the opportunity, against a good Tampa Bay defense, to prove why his presence works.

Pierre Thomas: The past two games, the Saints have found a consistent, conventional rushing attack in Thomas -- something missing from the team in recent memory. Thomas hasn't reached 100 rushing yards in a game yet, but the past two games he has 175 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns on 31 carries, and seven receptions for 90 yards. Thomas seems to be a running back the Saints need on the field, and with Bush back, they will have to find a way to keep Thomas relevant. His emergence coming at the same time as the Saints' first back-to-back wins of the season is not a coincidence.

Jeff Garcia: After losing 24-20 to the Saints in their opener, the Buccaneers benched Garcia, and he missed four starts. Since coming back in early October after Brian Griese was injured and reclaiming his starting job in a 27-3 win against the Carolina Panthers on Oct. 12, Garcia has been one of the best and most consistent in the NFL. He is 5-1 as a starter since, including three consecutive wins heading into today's game, and his lowest passer rating in the three-game stretch was 93.1. Garcia has just one interception since returning, and in that span he completed less than 72.1 percent of his passes just once. The Saints' pass defense needs another big week, this time on the road.

GAME PLAN

The Buccaneers are 8-3 because of their balance -- they rank in the top 13 in the NFL in passing, rushing, pass defense and rush defense. Thomas could be crucial this week because there is some room to run against Tampa Bay, with their running defense ranked 13th in the NFL (100.1 yards per game). The Saints, however, are still a team with problems away from home. Their lone road win came against the Kansas City Chiefs , and it was closer than one might have expected considering the Saints scored 51 points against the Packers the next week. Against Tampa Bay, New Orleans has to rediscover some of the defensive magic that it found and that seemed to be inspired by the offense's success in the third quarter against Green Bay. Buccaneers running back Warrick Dunn, who had 90 yards and a touchdown against the Detroit Lions on Nov. 23, needs to be limited. And the Saints have to find some way -- it will be difficult -- to get turnovers out of Garcia. The Saints' No. 1-ranked offense should take care of itself, assuming all goes well with the Bush transition. The game should be about New Orleans trying to match Tampa Bay's defense as best as it can.

KEY MATCHUP

Drew Brees vs. the Buccaneers' secondary: Tampa Bay's defense, fourth in the NFL (274.7 yards per game), gets a lot of its strength from its pass defense, ranked second in the league (174.6 yards per game). Tampa Bay also is seventh in the NFL in interceptions, with 14, a team-leading three from rookie cornerback Aqib Talib. Cornerback Ronde Barber had two interceptions against the Lions last week. Drew Brees would need to throw for 150 yards more than the Buccaneers usually give up in order to meet his season average (324.9). He is coming off perhaps the best performance of his career, certainly one of the most efficient, against a top-10 pass defense the Packers brought to the Superdome. Something has to give in this game, either Brees' outstanding numbers or the Buccaneers' tight defense, and the Saints cannot afford for it to be Brees' production.

BY THE NUMBERS

2 -- Tampa Bay is tied with Carolina for the NFC South lead, two games ahead of New Orleans and one game against of the Atlanta Falcons. . . . 1 -- The Buccaneers are the only NFC South team that the Saints have beaten this season. New Orleans won 24-20 on Sept. 7 at the Superdome, after spending most of the previous week practicing in Indianapolis because of a Hurricane Gustav evacuation. Brees had 343 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, and Bush had eight receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown, plus 14 carries for 51 rushing yards. . . . 17 -- The Buccaneers came back from a 17-point deficit in a 38-20 win against the Lions last week, giving them the second-largest comeback in team history and a tie for the most points in a road game in franchise history.

FROM THE COACH'S MOUTH

"It seems like a long time ago that we played them last, but right now defensively they're playing as well as anyone in the league." -- Payton on the Buccaneers



Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: November 30, 2008

• Browns blast Giants in Monday night stun...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Collier out of hospital, Jaguars confirm...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Madden taking a rare week off from NFL...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Matchup breakdowns...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Injury report...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Latest odds...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Slide show: NFL fans in wild, crazy garb...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Vote: Which team will win Super Bowl XLI...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Who will win Week 6 games in NFL?...
 Posted By kindofpirate
• Scores, Schedules, Standings, Stats, Mor...
 Posted By kindofpirate
Copyright © Buccaneershome.com, Inc. All rights reserved 2018.