TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: New Orleans Saints At Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images)
(credit: Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner Drew Brees and the Saints may be the most motivated team in the league after last year’s debacle that was largely the fallout from the Bountygate scandal. Brees is one of the game’s most resourceful and accurate quarterbacks, and he would like to get the Saints back on track. Brees has the quick release, accuracy and guts to get the Saints back into the playoffs.
Josh Freeman is an up-and-down quarterback who has the size, arm strength and athletic ability to lead the Saints to big wins. However, he lacks consistency and struggles to string good games together. While there is no question about his commitment, he seems to have a difficult time with his judgment. He will often force the ball into coverage and that results in costly turnovers.
Offense
Winner The Saints have a slew of talented offensive players and the most important may be tight end Jimmy Graham, who is almost certainly the best player at his position in the league. Marques Colston knows how to get open and will not drop the ball. The Saints have three running backs who can contribute in Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram.
The Bucs look to powerful Vincent Jackson for big plays and leadership. When Jackson catches a couple of passes in a game and gets his motor running, he becomes very difficult to stop from that point forward. Doug Martin had an excellent 2012 season and should give the Bucs consistent production on the ground this season.
Defense
The Saints made a major statement against the Falcons when they kept Atlanta out of the endzone even though quarterback Matt Ryan had the game in his hands in the final moments. It’s something that should stay with the Saints throughout the season. Linebacker Curtis Lofton is not a star, but he is a hard hitter who had five tackles against the Falcons.
Winner The Bucs need to be smarter and more efficient on defense. After taking the lead in the final seconds, the Bucs gave the Jets a chance to win the game when linebacker Lavonte David took a late-hit penalty and gave Jets PK Nick Folk the opportunity to win the game with a field goal. Leonard Johnson is a big hitter from the secondary and he had nine stops against the Jets.
Special Teams
Winner The Saints are prepared to win any game on special teams. Garrett Hartley does not have a big reputation but he is accurate and prepared any time he is asked to put three points on the board. Sproles has the quick change of direction to produce productive returns on a consistent basis.
Winner Rian Lindell is a backup kicker whom the Bucs are fortunate to have. He gave them a late lead when he was successful on a 37-yard attempt that should have been the decisive score in the game. The Bucs will use Martin as a return specialist any time they need a big play to get back in the game.

The Winner Is

Winner New Orleans Saints
3 out of 4

The Saints had a statement game in Week One when they defeated the Falcons at home by making a last-minute defensive stand to preserve the victory. That’s a good first step for Sean Payton’s team, but they can’t let up on the road.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Nigel Williams-Goss #5 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs reacts after a play in the second half against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. Kennedy Meeks #3 and Justin Jackson #44 of the North Carolina Tar Heels react in the second half against the Oregon Ducks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Final Four Semifinal at University of Phoenix Stadium on April 1, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona.
    NCAA Championship Tale: 1 Gonzaga Vs. 1 North Carolina

    Gonzaga and North Carolina are set to square off in the NCAA Championship. Let’s break down the matchup.

  2. Final Four Tale: 1 North Carolina Vs. 3 Oregon

    North Carolina and Oregon are set to square off in the Final Four. Let’s break down the matchup.

  3. Joel Berry II #2 of the North Carolina Tar Heels handles the ball in the second half against the Kentucky Wildcats during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament South Regional at FedExForum on March 26, 2017 in Memphis, Tennessee. Tyler Dorsey #5 of the Oregon Ducks reacts in the second half against the Kansas Jayhawks during the 2017 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament Midwest Regional at Sprint Center on March 25, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri.
    Final Four Tale: 1 North Carolina Vs. 3 Oregon

    North Carolina and Oregon are set to square off in the Final Four. Let’s break down the matchup.

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Tampa

Fake News: Tips On How to Distinguish it from the Real ThingTeachers from elementary school through college are instructing students on how to decipher fact from fiction when it comes to online news, after an election season that saw made-up stories abound.
CBS Tampa’s Social Media LinksFollow us!
How To Get Through Airport Security As Quickly As PossibleWith more people flying than ever before, it’s not surprising to see reports of long lines of people waiting in airport security lines...

Listen Live