The New Orleans Saints are still in control of the NFC South, but they don't want a repeat performance of last week. The division-leading Saints will look to bounce back from a disappointing loss when they travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for a divisional matchup Sunday.
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The Saints had their six-game winning streak snapped with a stunning 26-9 loss to visiting Atlanta last week, but they still have a two-game cushion in the division. New Orleans beat Tampa Bay 31-24 at home in Week 5, holding the Bucs to a season-low 252 total yards. That came in the midst of a remarkable five-game run in which the Saints did not allow more than 257 total yards, which came to an end when they gave up 317 yards to the Falcons. Tampa Bay ended a four-game skid with a 30-27 home win over Arizona last week after losing its first three home games of the season.
ABOUT THE SAINTS (7-2): New Orleans' offense sputtered to just 310 total yards last week, and nearly half of them came from MVP candidate Michael Thomas, who had 13 catches for 152 yards. Thomas torched the Bucs for 11 catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns in Week 5 and has had at least 10 catches and 90 receiving yards in three straight games against Tampa Bay. The Saints rank fifth in the league in total defense, but the Falcons were able to hurt them on the ground last week.
ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (3-6): Tampa Bay overcame three turnovers to beat the Cardinals last week, but the giveaways are a continued concern, as they've committed 21 turnovers, including three games with four or more. The Bucs didn't cough it up in the first meeting with the Saints, but they've done so 15 times in four games since, and Jameis Winston has thrown a whopping 14 interceptions. The other red flag for the Bucs has been their pass defense, which ranks last in the league and has given up more than 300 net passing yards six times in nine games.
1. Thomas has 407 career receptions -- the most in a player's first four seasons in NFL history -- and was the fastest player in history to reach 400 receptions, doing so in 56 games.
2. Winston has four straight games with at least 300 passing yards, which is the longest streak in franchise history and the longest active streak in the NFL.
3. Tampa Bay WR Chris Godwin has four touchdown receptions in his past four games against the Saints.
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- HandProb Week 1 | probable
Vea is recovering from hand surgery but is expected to be available for the season opener versus the Saints.