TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Bucs highly anticipated NFC South rivalry game is quickly approaching. On Sunday, the Buccaneers will face off in their first divisional matchup against the New Orleans Saints at the Superdome – one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL.
With both the Bucs (2-1) and Saints (2-1) coming off their first losses of the season in Week 3, this upcoming matchup will be one to watch on both sides of the ball, considering how critical intradivision games will be in what’s likely to be a tight race throughout the season.
During the Bucs MNF loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, both the offense and defense struggled, but in Week 1 and 2, the team proved successful on both sides of the ball. Head coach Todd Bowles described Monday night’s mistakes as “self-inflicted wounds,” but the errors are correctable.
”When I watched the tape, there were two runs that got out there, which is good scheming on their part,” Bowles said. “There were a couple that we had that were self-inflicted. That’s correctable.”
In three games, the Bucs defense has had nine sacks, tying them for 10th-most in the league. Meanwhile, the Saints have given up 12 sacks, tying them for fourth-most in the NFL. According to Fox Sports Reporter Greg Auman, only six NFL teams have more than four interceptions on defense so far this year, and the Bucs (5) and Saints (4) are two of them.
During the Bucs loss to the Eagles, quarterback Baker Mayfield threw just one interception (his first of the season) and has taken only three sacks so far. However, Tampa Bay wasn’t the only team to add a new QB to the roster.
In the offseason, quarterback Derek Carr signed a four-year contract with the Saints following a nine-season stint with the Las Vegas Raiders. What looked to be a promising year for Carr and the Saints now seems uncertain. According to the NFL, Carr “avoided a long-term shoulder injury in Sunday’s loss to Green Bay,” adding that Saints head coach Dennis Allen deemed the QB as week to week.
If Carr is absent from Sunday’s 1 p.m. matchup, that means the Buccaneers will be facing their former first-round pick and starting quarterback Jameis Winston. He spent five seasons with Tampa Bay after being drafted as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 draft.
Bucs vs. Saints history:
Sunday’s matchup will be a dicey one. Since 2017, Bucs’ wide receiver Mike Evans and Saints defensive back Marshon Lattimore have had three fights, with Evans given one-game suspensions as the result of his actions in two of the altercations.
The latest fight between the two occurred in the 2022-23 season during the Bucs 20-10 win over New Orleans in Week 2. Both Evans and Lattimore were ejected from the game.
The Bucs and Saints also met in the postseason during that stretch in 2020. That matchup saw three critical second-half turnovers that helped Tampa Bay rally from being down a touchdown to win 30-20.
- CB Carlton Davis – Questionable (toe)
- DB Jamel Dean – Out (neck/shoulder)
- LB SirVocea Dennis – Out (hamstring)
- DT Calijah Kancey – Out (calf)
- CB Derek Pitts – Out (hamstring)
- DT Vita Vea – Questionable (pectoral)
- LB Devin White – Questionable (foot)
- SAF Jordan Howden – Out (finger)
- QB Derek Carr – Questionable (right shoulder)
- G Cesar Ruiz – Out (concussion)
- CB Paulson Adebo – Out (hamstring)
- TE Foster Moreau – Questionable (ankle)