Last time these two teams met, in Week 7, the game ended under disputable circumstances. Tampa Bay appeared to score the game-tying touchdown on a Josh Freeman-to-Mike Williams touchdown play. However, Williams had been pushed out of the back of the end zone prior to re-entering the field of play.
Williams wasn't given the catch and the Bucs fell 35-28.
Fast forward to Week 15. Tampa Bay won four straight games following that disappointing loss, positioning itself for a playoff run. However, three straight losses to Atlanta, Denver and the horrible Philadelphia Eagles has dealt a significant blow to its postseason chances.
Drew Brees hasn't been himself as of late, but he could get back on track against a Bucs secondary that has become the laughing stock of the NFL. Brees brought the Saints back from a 21-7 second-quarter deficit, throwing for 377 yards and four touchdowns in the team's Week 7 win in Tampa Bay.
Where: Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, La.
When: Sunday, Dec. 16 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Spread: Saints -3.5 (via Bovada)
With how bad the Bucs pass defense has been they will have to be lucky to come within three points of the Saints this week. It's going to be a high-scoring game, one that the Bucs won't be able to keep up with.
Look for the Saints to win by at least a touchdown in Week 15.
Over/Under: 54 (via Bovada)
Last time these two teams slugged it out they came up with 62 points. This time, in a dome, it's going to be another slugfest. Look for the Bucs to rely on big plays to contend with the prolific Saints pass-oriented offense.
Injury Report via CBS Sports (as of 12/13/2012)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
|DE||Da'Quan Bowers||Not injury related, hamstring||Probable|
New Orleans Saints
Fantasy Big Plays
Bucs: RB Doug Martin
Martin's Week 7 TD run against the Saints energized the young rookie running back. He went off to run for 386 yards and score five touchdowns over the next two games. While he hasn't had the same type of success since those huge games, Martin has the ability to have a very big day against the Saints in Week 15.
New Orleans is giving up the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. The 22.3 average of points it gives up each week is almost seven points higher than the league average. It isn't just failing to stop star backs. It's failing to stop anyone. Last week, the unit gave up two touchdowns and over 100 yards on the ground to rookie running back David Wilson.
Projected Stats: 23 carries, 135 yards, 2 TDs
New Orleans: QB Drew Brees
Drew Brees has been struggling heavily over the past two weeks. He has thrown just one touchdown and seven interceptions during the slump. What better than a matchup against the league's worst pass defense to get the star QB back on track?
Rookie QB Nick Foles threw for 381 yards and two TDs last week in Tampa Bay. Brees' 377-yard, four-touchdown performance against the Bucs in Week 7 is something to hope for in your fantasy football playoff matchups.
Projected Stats: 28-of-37 passing, 410 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Key to Victory
Drew Brees vs. Tampa Bay's secondary
The Bucs will continue to be without cornerback Eric Wright, who is serving a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance abuse policy. That's hurt the team's already porous secondary in so many different ways.
Additionally, the team parted ways with former first-round pick Aqib Talib. He was traded to the New England Patriots weeks ago before coming off of suspension for the same offense as Wright, Adderall use.
Brees put up four TDs and over 350 yards on the Bucs in Week 7 and shouldn't have too much of a problem replicating that type of performance in this one. That is, unless the Bucs do anything to stop it.
Tampa Bay has been competitive and close in every game it has played this season. That's a big improvement over last season's debacle. However, the dream of a playoff run is going to come to an end in New Orleans this weekend.
Brees and the vertical game of the Saints will prove to be too much for the bare Bucs secondary.
Final Score: Saints 42, Bucs 31