Tampa Bay Buccaneers Will Face the New Orleans Saints in Divisional Round

Tampa Bay will face an NFC South rival in the next round of the postseason.
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On the road again.

The No. 5 seed Tampa Bay Buccaneers (12-5) will travel to New Orleans next week to face the No. 2 New Orleans Saints (13-4) in the NFC Divisional Playoffs, after New Orleans defeated the Chicago Bears by a score of 21-3 on Sunday night. Kickoff is set for 6:40 P.M. ET on Sunday night, televised on FOX.

The Buccaneers topped the No. 4 seed Washington Football Team (7-10) on Saturday night, 31-23.

This will be the third time Tampa Bay and New Orleans, NFC South rivals, have faced off this season. The Saints came out victorious in both games, convincingly, with a +46 point in their favor. 

However, the Buccaneers have improved significantly since the last two teams met in Week 9. Particularly over the course of the last five games, where Tampa Bay has averaged 35.8 points per game and quarterback Tom Brady has accumulated 342.8 yards and 2.8 touchdowns per game. 

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Compare that to the combined 26 points the Bucs put up, and the five interceptions that Brady posted, in the two previous contests vs. New Orleans, and you realize that this should be a matchup unlike the last two. 

Head coach Bruce Arians would tend to agree. He was asked if there was a preferred opponent on Saturday night following the win over Washington.

"We’re a better football team than the last time we played the Saints, if we go there," Arians said. "It doesn’t matter to me.”

The first NFC Divisional matchup, between the Los Angeles Rams (11-6) and Green Bay Packers (13-3), is set for Saturday at 4:35 P.M. ET.