TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 7: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Vs. New Orleans Saints

Buccaneers
Saints
Quarterback
Josh Freeman is coming off one of the best games of his career. In the Bucs’ 38-10 demolition of the lowly Chiefs, Freeman completed 15-of-26 passes for 328 yards with 3 TDs and just 1 interception. Freeman played with confidence and was the best player on the field. He has to show he can string big games together.
Winner The Saints got off to a miserable start and may not be able to recover. However, their explosive passing game remains intact. Drew Brees continues to put big numbers up as the Saints have the No. 1 ranked passing offense in the league, averaging 326.8 yards per game. Brees is smart, resilient and unfailingly accurate. He has a 14-to-6 touchdown to interception ration heading into Week Seven.
Offense
The Bucs don’t have a great surrounding cast on the offensive side of the ball but the running back combination of LaGarette Blount and Doug Martin run with toughness. Vincent Jackson is a legitimate No. 1 receiver, but he is not consistent. The rest of the Bucs receivers are ordinary and so is the offensive line.
Winner The Saints are all about making big plays on offense. The running game has not given the Saints much this season, but the combination of Pierre Thomas and Mark Ingram have the potential to turn it around. Marques Colston is a dependable receiver who will usually catch anything he can reach. Jimmy Graham is an elite tight end who can stretch the field for Brees.
Defense
Winner The Bucs are tough against the run but vulnerable to the passing game. This will put them in a bad position against Drew Brees. However, they are a hard-hitting team and head coach Greg Schiano has this unit playing much harder than the Bucs did a year ago. Middle linebacker Mason Foster may be a complete NFL unknown, but he lead his team in tackles with 43 and he is rarely out of position. If he keeps it up, they will take his picture off of the milk carton.
The Saints have been awful on defense, and that’s no surprise given the Bountygate Scandal that ripped the guts out of this team. They could get a lift if Jonathan Vilma returns from the PUP list and plays in this game. Strong safety Roman Harper is a big hitter who has registered 38 tackles so far. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton has put together four consecutive double-digit tackle games.
Special Teams
Winner Connor Barth is a strong-legged placekicker who has made 10-of-11 field goal attempts, including 3-of-4 from 50 yards or longer. Michael Koenen is just an ordinary punter and he rarely helps the Bucs win the field position battle.
The Saints are not known for their great special teams, but Garrett Hartley has made 7-of-9 FG attempts this season and looks quite dependable. Thomas Morstead is a solid punter who is averaging 51.2 yard per punt. Darren Sproles has the potential to make big plays in the return game.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

The Bucs are coming off one of their most impressive games in years. They hammered the Chiefs on offense and defense and there was a new confidence not seen in Tampa for several seasons. The Saints are coming off a bye week following their first win of the season and they realize they are still one of the most explosive offensive teams in the league.

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

6 of the Best Ways to Spend Your Summer in Tampa BayTampa Bay is calling your name! Our beautiful area offers so much and this list is just a small segment of what Tampa Bay has in store for you this summer. Here are the best ways to spend your summer here in Tampa Bay.
Best Party Beaches Around Tampa BayIt's illegal to drink alcohol on most of Tampa Bay's beaches - unless you know about these next six locations.
CBS Tampa’s Social Media LinksFollow us!

Listen Live