New Orleans Saints - Tampa Bay Buccaneers Game Preview: Both NFC South Teams Look To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

New Orleans Saints - Tampa Bay Buccaneers Game Preview: Both NFC South Teams Look To Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

When the New Orleans Saints travel to Florida to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they will be looking to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, while rookie quarterback Jameis Winston is gunning to take the Bucs to the playoffs.

Andrew McDonnell

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be looking to get one over on their divisional rivals as they host the New Orleans Saints in Week 14 at Raymond James Stadium.

Having already matched their win total from the past two seasons, Tampa Bay appears to be trending up and marching for a playoff berth this season.

The Saints will be looking to snap a four-game losing streak, having not lost five-in-a-row for 10 years, as they are simply playing for a slim hope of a wildcard spot in the postseason.

Winston scoring a touchdown last week against the Falcons (Getty)

Winston settled quickly in Tampa

Tampa Bay wasn’t expected to make much of an impact in the league this season, but quarterback Jameis Winston continues to impress in his first season as an NFL player.

The Buccaneers will be aiming for a second-consecutive victory after Winston led a 12-play, 80-yard drive with only 1:39 left on the clock in last Sunday’s 23-19 win over the Atlanta Falcons.

In the process, Doug Martin seems to have revived his career and the Bucs’ defense has also picked up this season, allowing only on average 16.8 points per game since Week 8.

Saints Pride on the line

It may not seem like it, but there is still a lot of football to be played this season for the Saints. They have four games left and a win against the Buccaneers would keep them alive in the postseason race.

The Saints offense found their rhythm in the second half of their game with the Panthers last week, with Drew Brees leading them on three scoring drives, but they couldn’t hold on for the win, falling 41-38.

Quarterback Brees needs only one touchdown pass to tie Dan Marino’s 420 touchdown passes, ranking fourth in NFL history.

The Buccaneers and the Saints earlier in the season (Getty)

Saints and Buccaneers come together once again

This will be the second of two meetings this season between the NFC South sides, with Tampa Bay paying a visit to New Orleans at the beginning of the season and leaving with a 26-19 win.

Since 2006, the Saints have a 12-7 record over the Bucs, winning six at Raymond James Stadium, but Tampa Bay will be looking to end the Saints’ four-game win streak in Tampa.

The Carolina Panthers sealed the NFC South last Sunday against the Saints, therefore a win for the Buccaneers would put them in pole position to finish second in the division and in contention for a wildcard spot.

Injury Report

The Saints received a major blow on the injury front this week, as running back Mark Ingram was placed on injured reserve with a shoulder injury sustained against the Panthers.

Jahri Evans (ankle) and John Jenkins (concussion) are out of the game in Tampa, while Brandin Cooks (concussion), Terron Armstead (knee) and Willie Snead (calf) are listed as probable.

As for the Buccaneers, Jacquis Smith (hamstring) has been ruled out completely, and George Johnson (calf) is also doubtful after limited practice all week.

Gerald McCoy (hand) and Lavonte David (ankle) are listed as questionable, meanwhile, Evan Smith (not injury related), Vincent Jackson (knee) and Jude Adjei-Barimah are likely to feature against the Saints.

Prediction: Saints 27, Buccaneers 24