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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

5 Bucs to Watch Against New Orleans

The game may be a rematch, but there are some different storylines to follow this time around. See who you should be looking out for as the Buccaneers take on the New Orleans Saints in primetime on Sunday Night Football.


The Buccaneers are heading into a rematch with the division-rival New Orleans Saints. Winner take the NFC South. For real, the Bucs hold a narrow lead over the Saints sitting at 6-2 to the Saints' 5-2, adding to the drama of the primetime contest.

Because that's what we need more of right now.

Either way, it makes the game itself must-see TV and here are five Buccaneers you might want to look out for on Sunday Night Football.

1. QB Tom Brady

The last time around, Brady didn't have quite the performance he perhaps would have wanted. He threw an uncharacteristic two interceptions, one that went for a touchdown which is even more of a rarity when it comes to his 20-year NFL career, and had a passer rating of just 78.4

To be fair, New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees didn't fare much better. The Buccaneer defense mostly shut him down through the air, as he through for just 160 yards at a 60% completion percentage.

Now, both quarterbacks, and both teams, are humming along nicely. Both are currently on three-game win streaks. The Bucs have a slight lead over the Saints for the NFC South, but this game will determine if they keep it. Brady has registered a passer rating of over 100 in his last three games and the Bucs have outscored opponents 108-53 in those contests. They currently have the fourth-best scoring offense in the league.

The Buccaneers quarterback is also having one of the most productive seasons of any quarterback, currently. He is tied for the third-most passing touchdowns this season with 20, and ranks fourth in 2020 passing yards with 2,189. There's also the whole Brady and Brees being embattled for the lead in all-time passing touchdowns thing. Brady is currently in the lead with 561 career regular season touchdowns. Brees sits at... 560. You can bet the opportunity to go head-to-head with each other and gain some ground isn't lost on a competitor like Brady.

2. CB Carlton Davis

Davis is likely again to be matched up with New Orleans' receiver Michael Thomas, should he in fact return. Thomas has been out since Week One against the Bucs, where he nabbed just three catches for 17 yards throughout the course of the game. It was the second-lowest total of his career. That was due in large part to Davis shadowing Thomas and rendering him ineffective.

Davis has enjoyed a lot of success since. He currently leads the league in interceptions with four after nabbing a pivotal takeaway against the Giants that helped shift momentum back to the Buccaneers, who would ultimately come out victorious. The Bucs as a unit also tie for the league lead in interceptions with 11 and have recorded one in seven straight games. Should Davis, or the unit as a whole, get another one against New Orleans, it'll mark the team's longest streak of such games since 2004.

Now, Brees isn't the easiest player to pick off. He takes care of the ball well and has thrown just three all year. The Saints' offense in general has some incredibly dynamic playmakers and the aforementioned Thomas is undoubtedly one of them – especially against the Buccaneers. If Davis can take him out of the game again, it'll help the Bucs defense tremendously in containing yet another top 10 offense.

3. WR Chris Godwin

The Buccaneers are looking at potentially fielding more dynamic playmakers on offense than even they know what to do with on Sunday. On Friday, Head Coach Bruce Arians said Godwin could be one of them. Godwin suffered a broken finger in the team's win over the Raiders in Vegas and had it surgically repaired shortly thereafter. Godwin missed last week against the Giants but depending on how sore he is on Saturday, Arians said he anticipates Godwin will play Sunday night.

That would just be an incredible feat for a guy that is so integral to this Buccaneer offense. It will also be his first appearance on primetime this season for the Bucs as he was injured not only for the Giants' game but also for the Thursday Night Football matchup with the Chicago Bears in Week Five. That in and of itself is a good reason to watch for Godwin, even if he's in a limited role.

4. WR Mike Evans

In Week One, Evans had just one catch in the game against the Saints. The New Orleans defense did everything they could to do to Evans what the Bucs' defense did to Thomas. But with the offense more comfortable with each other than they were the first week of the season and the sheer number of playmakers they have the ability to field Sunday night, as a defense, you simply can't afford to pay as much attention to Evans. It'll likely be cornerback Marshon Lattimore again tapped to contain Evans, though this time, he may not have help. That will surely make for an interesting matchup to watch as the game goes on.

5. ILB Lavonte David

Bucs players and coaches have been talking all week about how much of a threat Saints running back Alvin Kamara is and how much damage he can do. Defensive Coordinator Todd Bowles even said he looks to be playing faster than he was the first time around in Week One. That's going to make for a challenge for even the league's best rushing defense.

And that means a challenge for David, himself. As half of the league's best off-ball linebacker duo, containing Kamara will rest heavily on his shoulders. Luckily, David and the Bucs' defense have had some success there. In Week One, they held Kamara to just 16 yards on 12 rushes. That's a 1.33 yards per carry average – the lowest of Kamara's career. That's all well and good, but what makes Kamara so dangerous is that he's a dual threat back. He can catch, too. The Bucs allowed him 51 yards receiving in Week One. That may sound like a lot for a running back, but Kamara is averaging 79.4 receiving yards per game and 61.6 rushing yards per game this year. He's just extremely fast and the Saints know how to use him.

That being said, David is also extremely fast. He has the second-most hustle stops in the NFL this season with 11, according to the NFL's Next Gen Stats. Little brother Devin White is tied for third, in case you were wondering. That's a formula for helping to stop Kamara and that's exactly what the two will try to do on Sunday night.

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