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3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Winning the division is probably out of the question at this point, but the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have playoff hopes, however slim. Following their first win (Week 5) and a bye in Week 6, this ...

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Old 10-19-2012, 01:34 PM   #1
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Winning the division is probably out of the question at this point, but the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have playoff hopes, however slim. Following their first win (Week 5) and a bye in Week 6, this game is a chance for the Saints to build some much-needed momentum as the schedule gets significantly tougher going forward. The return of interim head coach Joe Vitt and potentially Jonathan Vilma next week could provide an emotional boost, though that boost may be meaningless if New Orleans leaves Tampa without a win. The task looks to be a tough one, with the Buccaneers coming off a dominant victory, but as we pointed out, that may have been more of a testament to the Chiefs’ flaws than to the quality of the Buccaneers.

Which team will keep its playoff chances alive and which should start early planning for next year? Here are three matchups that may determine the answer.

Testing Biggers

With Aqib Talib suspended, E.J. Biggers (+3.1) steps into the role of starting cornerback for the Bucs. You would think that this would be a worrying situation, with the team’s best corner being replaced by a player who was PFF’s fourth-worst graded CB in 2011. But if two games are any indication, they’ll be just fine. Against Kansas City, Biggers was strong in coverage, allowing two receptions for 19 yards. On the year, the cornerback has given up just three catches on 10 targets, with three pass break-ups, and is allowing 0.5 yards per snap in coverage — the fourth-best mark among all CBs. Quite the improvement for a player whom quarterbacks had a QB rating of 119 when targeting a season ago.

But many players would look good when defending the Brady Quinn-led Chiefs. It’s another matter facing the passing offense of the Saints. And while we have yet to see an entirely sharp Drew Brees and the offensive juggernaut of years past, the team looks to be trending upward after good showings against Green Bay and San Diego. In particular, the Bucs will need to find a way to slow down Marques Colston (+2.6 receiving) who has caught 18 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns in his past two games. Jimmy Graham likely won’t be much of a factor with a high ankle sprain, so look for Brees to go to his receivers on the outside more often, which is where Biggers has lined up exclusively this season. The Saints get a boost this week with Lance Moore expected to play, while Devery Henderson is coming off his best performance of the season.

Whether Biggers keeps up his impressive play or reverts back to 2011 form may go a long way in determining the outcome of this game. But maybe his 2011 form wouldn’t be such a bad thing for Tampa Bay — his best performance of that year came in Week 6 against the Saints when he intercepted one Brees pass and broke up three more.

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Old 10-19-2012, 01:38 PM   #2
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

Enter Sproles, thank you.
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:00 PM   #3
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

Originally Posted by Mardigras9 View Post
Enter Sproles, thank you.
Interesting that they didn't mention him. I wonder if they believe he'll be a non-factor.
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Old 10-19-2012, 09:44 PM   #4
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

That’s good news for the Saints, because they aren’t getting much help from the safeties when receivers do make it into the open field — Malcolm Jenkins is our second-worst rated safety and has the third-most missed tackles of any DB. This will be an interesting matchup to watch as the Bucs will surely look to exploit Jackson’s height advantage against the Saints’ defensive backs, none of whom are taller than 6-foot-1. But for as good as Jackson has been, the Saints can’t forget about Mike Williams. Freeman has a near perfect rating of 140.7 when targeting the Buccaneers’ No. 1 receiver from a year ago.

Wow, just wow!!
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:10 AM   #5
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

Originally Posted by Utah_Saint View Post
Interesting that they didn't mention him. I wonder if they believe he'll be a non-factor.

Well, in all honesty he has been a non-factor so far this season, so I guess they just assume he won't brake out of it this Sunday.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:43 AM   #6
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

Originally Posted by FinSaint View Post
Well, in all honesty he has been a non-factor so far this season, so I guess they just assume he won't brake out of it this Sunday.
You're right. I wonder why that is. His per touch numbers are pretty good.

Receiving, he's got a 72% reception rate which is excellent, 8.4 yards per reception, which isn't bad for a running back. He's got far and away the best YAC on the team. As a rusher, he's averaging a team high 5.4 yards per carry.

Sometimes when they do get it to him, it seems forced, like they've got a quota of Sproles touches they're trying to get to. And then they don't go back to him for half a quarter or so. (just my opinion)

It's definitely part of the bigger problem of the offense not quite being as "in sync" as we're used to.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:49 AM   #7
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

I still wonder if he is suffering from the injury that held him off the field during the preseason or if he isn't suffering from it anymore - if the "lost" preseason affected his preparation for the regular season in a way that has hampered his effectiveness so far.

The stats you listed seem to indicate that he has been productive when given the chance, but my subjective opinion just based on my own perception is that he hasn't been the same "pocket rocket" we saw last season.
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Old 10-20-2012, 11:11 AM   #8
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

Originally Posted by FinSaint View Post
I still wonder if he is suffering from the injury that held him off the field during the preseason or if he isn't suffering from it anymore - if the "lost" preseason affected his preparation for the regular season in a way that has hampered his effectiveness so far.

The stats you listed seem to indicate that he has been productive when given the chance, but my subjective opinion just based on my own perception is that he hasn't been the same "pocket rocket" we saw last season.
I agree, his role in the offense hasn't been the same this year. Either of the reasons you listed, injury or less time to prepare this preseason could be the problem. The offense as a whole just doesn't seem to be clicking the way it has in the past. I think we all may have underestimated just how disruptive this offseason was for team chemistry, I know I did.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:28 PM   #9
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

Originally Posted by papz View Post
Winning the division is probably out of the question at this point, but the New Orleans Saints and Tampa Bay Buccaneers still have playoff hopes, however slim. Following their first win (Week 5) and a bye in Week 6, this game is a chance for the Saints to build some much-needed momentum as the schedule gets significantly tougher going forward. The return of interim head coach Joe Vitt and potentially Jonathan Vilma next week could provide an emotional boost, though that boost may be meaningless if New Orleans leaves Tampa without a win. The task looks to be a tough one, with the Buccaneers coming off a dominant victory, but as we pointed out, that may have been more of a testament to the Chiefs’ flaws than to the quality of the Buccaneers.

Which team will keep its playoff chances alive and which should start early planning for next year? Here are three matchups that may determine the answer.

Testing Biggers

With Aqib Talib suspended, E.J. Biggers (+3.1) steps into the role of starting cornerback for the Bucs. You would think that this would be a worrying situation, with the team’s best corner being replaced by a player who was PFF’s fourth-worst graded CB in 2011. But if two games are any indication, they’ll be just fine. Against Kansas City, Biggers was strong in coverage, allowing two receptions for 19 yards. On the year, the cornerback has given up just three catches on 10 targets, with three pass break-ups, and is allowing 0.5 yards per snap in coverage — the fourth-best mark among all CBs. Quite the improvement for a player whom quarterbacks had a QB rating of 119 when targeting a season ago.

But many players would look good when defending the Brady Quinn-led Chiefs. It’s another matter facing the passing offense of the Saints. And while we have yet to see an entirely sharp Drew Brees and the offensive juggernaut of years past, the team looks to be trending upward after good showings against Green Bay and San Diego. In particular, the Bucs will need to find a way to slow down Marques Colston (+2.6 receiving) who has caught 18 passes for 284 yards and four touchdowns in his past two games. Jimmy Graham likely won’t be much of a factor with a high ankle sprain, so look for Brees to go to his receivers on the outside more often, which is where Biggers has lined up exclusively this season. The Saints get a boost this week with Lance Moore expected to play, while Devery Henderson is coming off his best performance of the season.

Whether Biggers keeps up his impressive play or reverts back to 2011 form may go a long way in determining the outcome of this game. But maybe his 2011 form wouldn’t be such a bad thing for Tampa Bay — his best performance of that year came in Week 6 against the Saints when he intercepted one Brees pass and broke up three more.

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how is Tampas hopes slim? They are 4-2? They have a better record than most teams in the league?
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Old 10-21-2012, 05:16 AM   #10
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Re: 3TFO: Saints @ Buccaneers, Week 7

Originally Posted by The Dude View Post
how is Tampas hopes slim? They are 4-2? They have a better record than most teams in the league?

They are actually 2-3 in wins and losses, if that was what you were referring to. I think they've only won the Panties and the Chiefs with a #2 QB running the show.

Panties and the Saints are both 1-4, but the Panties have that single win over the Saints.
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