TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — The Buccaneers have a quick turnaround this week to shake off Monday’s loss to the Eagles and gear up for what’s become a heated rivalry with the Saints in recent years, and the players are well aware of what’s at stake on Sunday.

“Any time you have a divisional opponent, it’s a big game,” said Bucs’ wide receiver Chris Godwin. “We know the history of this game over the last couple of years and what it’s kind of meant. We know it’s going to be a hard-fought game. We know they’re going to bring it, but we’re going to bring it as well.” 

“You see it first-hand, now being here in Tampa,” said Bucs’ quarterback Baker Mayfield. “But you kind of watched it on TV—or I did in the past—so yeah, you get a feeling this is the one that everybody has circled on their calendars when the schedule gets released, and looking forward to it being this early-on a division game and having the same record as them as well.” 

The past six seasons, it’s either been the Saints or the Bucs winning the NFC South title. With both teams eyeing that crown again, there will be no shortage of intensity.

“It’ll be physical,” said Bucs’ offensive lineman Tristan Wirfs. “It’ll probably be nasty. They always have a really good defense. It’s always a really physical game, you know, you feel it afterwards. Yeah, I’d say it’s a little rivalry, so it gets a little chippy. Look at Mike [Evans] every year—Mike and Marshon Lattimore every year.” 

“We’re never going to take anything from anybody else,” Mayfield said. “We’re never going to back down. That’s not the type of group we are, but we need to be smart. I think everybody knows; it goes without saying that just don’t hurt the team. We’re going to protect each other, but don’t hurt the team.”