Doug Martin, Lavonte David and others will have their work cut out for them against the Saints on Sunday.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13) will take on the New Orleans Saints (6-9) on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Here are several matchups between individual players and/or certain team units that could go a long way towards determining the game's final outcome:
DT Clinton McDonald vs. G Jahri Evans
Despite not tallying a sack in the first meeting, the Bucs registered eight QB hits and 16 hurries. That pressure led to three Drew Brees interceptions. The Bucs must get pressure on the quarterback and McDonald must lead the way up the middle. He has four sacks on the season and could add more against Evans, who, according to Pro Football Focus, has allowed five sacks, seven hits and 33 hurries this year.
LB Lavonte David vs. RB Mark Ingram
Ingram, who missed the first matchup, leads his team with 907 rushing yards and eight scores. He's shown speed and power with two TDs in his last two games, bouncing one to the outside for 15 yards and pounding another one up the middle. David (141 tackles, three forced fumbles) will lead the attack in limiting his production. He ranks second among NFL LBs with 17 tackles for loss and is also second in thel eague in tackles despite missing two games.
RB Doug Martin vs. LB Curtis Lofton
The Saints have allowed the fourth-most rushing yards per game this season (129.5), with a league-leading 17 runs of 20+ yards allowed. Lofton's 135 tackles are the fifth-most in the NFL. Over the last three weeks, Martin has 4.7 yards per carry and, as we saw in Carolina, is just one cut away from breaking off a big play. He'll see his chances in this game.WRs Vincent Jackson & Mike Evans vs. CBs Keenan Lewis & Terrence Frederick
Jackson needs nine yards to reach 1,000, while Evans needs just three to get there. If both hit their marks, they will be the first Bucs WR duo to top 1,000 receiving yards in the same season. Evans missed the first Saints matchup, a game in which Jackson gained 144 yards. With both on the field, Lewis, Frederick and the 29th-ranked Saints secondary (261.5 passing yards allowed per game) will have their hands full.
QB Josh McCown vs. LB Junior Galette
McCown and the Bucs offensive line will need to deal with the Saints' pass rush, led by Junior Galette's nine sacks. McCown will need to find time to connect with his big receivers. Along with long gains and putting points on the board, efficiency from McCown and the pass game will help the offense convert on third down and keep Brees & Co. off the field.
S Bradley McDougald vs. TE Jimmy Graham
McDougald has been all over the field over the last two weeks, racking up 24 tackles. Graham has 11 receptions for 140 yards and a TD in that time frame and is always a threat in the middle of the field. Whether or not McDougald is called upon to cover QB Drew Brees's favorite target, he needs to continue his sure tackling to limit big plays.