First-place Bucs host Saints in crucial NFC South battle
NEW ORLEANS (5-7) at TAMPA BAY (7-5)
Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET, Fox
OPENING LINE - Buccaneers by 1
RECORD VS. SPREAD - New Orleans 8-4, Tampa Bay 7-5
SERIES RECORD - Saints lead 30-18
LAST MEETING - Saints beat Buccaneers 24-17, Dec. 13, 2015
LAST WEEK - Saints lost to Lions 28-13; Buccaneers beat Chargers 28-21
AP PRO32 RANKING - Saints No. 23, Buccaneers No. 12
SAINTS OFFENSE - OVERALL (1), RUSH (12), PASS (1).
SAINTS DEFENSE - OVERALL (26), RUSH (T11), PASS (31).
BUCCANEERS OFFENSE - OVERALL (12), RUSH (17), PASS (13).
BUCCANEERS DEFENSE - OVERALL (22), RUSH (25), PASS (15).
STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES - Saints have won eight of past nine between NFC South rivals, including four straight in Tampa. ... QB Drew Brees leads NFL in completions (375), passing attempts (500), completion percentage (71.4), passing yards (3,913) and touchdown passes (30). He's been sharp on road, too, with 975 yards, eight TDs and two interceptions for 110.7 rating in past three road outings. ... Over that stretch, rookie WR Michael Thomas has 20 receptions for 271 yards and two TDs. Thomas leads rookies with 69 catches, 831 yards receiving and seven TD receptions. ... Saints LB Dannell Ellerbe has sack in four consecutive games. In his past two vs. Buccaneers, he has 17 tackles and sack. ... Bucs QB Jameis Winston has thrown for 15 TDs vs. four interceptions over past eight games. Tampa Bay has won six of those eight to climb into playoff contention, tied for division lead with Atlanta. ... Bucs are 4-0 since RB Doug Martin returned from hamstring injury that sidelined him seven weeks. ... WR Mike Evans ranks third in league with 1,058 receiving yards and is tied for second with 10 TD receptions. ... Bucs DT Gerald McCoy has 38 1/2 sacks since 2012, most in NFL by defensive tackle. ... DE Robert Ayers Jr. has 3 1/2 sacks and forced fumble during Tampa Bay's four-game winning streak. ... Bucs' defense has at least two takeaways in four consecutive games. ... Bucs winning streak is longest since 2012. Last time they won five straight was 2002, season they won their only Super Bowl. ... Martin has averaged 102 yards from scrimmage in his past five games against New Orleans.
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