NFL Football
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24
Final 1 2 3 4 Tot
Tampa Bay 0 7 14 3 24
New Orleans 7 6 15 3 31
31
1:25 PM PT2:25 PM MT3:25 PM CT4:25 PM ET21:25 GMT5:25 AM 北京时间2:25 PM MST4:25 PM EST3:25 PM CT1:25 UAE (+1)16:25 ETNaN:� , December 24, 2016
Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, Louisiana  Attendance: 73,177

Buccaneers begin their playoffs against Saints

According to STATS
According to STATS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints

  1. Tampa Bay defeated the Saints just two weeks ago, 16-11, when the Buccaneers limited New Orleans to no more than 11 points for the first time in the series since 2005. The Bucs now have a chance to sweep both games against the Saints for the first time since 2007.
  2. The Buccaneers' five-game winning streak was snapped in a 26-20 loss at Dallas in Week 15. At 8-6, Tampa Bay is a game behind 9-5 Atlanta in the NFC South, and is currently the No. 7 seed in the NFC conference standings, trailing the current No. 6 seed Packers, who also sport an 8-6 record.
  3. The Saints erupted for 21 points in the fourth quarter and pulled out a 48-41 victory at Arizona last week. New Orleans has averaged 39.8 points over its six victories, which is the fourth-highest rate by any team in the Super Bowl era (since 1966).
  4. Jameis Winston threw three interceptions last week, matching his total over his previous seven starts combined. In four games against the NFC South this season, Winston has completed 64.0 percent of his passes for eight touchdowns, one interception and a passer rating of 104.9.
  5. After throwing no touchdown passes and three interceptions in each of his previous two games, Drew Brees tossed four touchdowns and no picks last week. It also was the 28th time Brees combined at least 300 passing yards (389) with four or more TD, extending his NFL record.
  6. Brandin Cooks caught seven passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns last week. The yardage represented the third-highest single-game total in Saints history, and the team's highest mark since Torrance Small totaled 200 yards on December 24, 1994.
Team Comparison

Tampa Bay
 
New Orleans
22.4 Points 29.0
263.3 Pass Yds 329.2
101.1 Rush Yds 106.2
26 Takeaways 19

NEW ORLEANS -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 8-6 and have yet to qualify for the playoffs, but quarterback Jameis Winston says the playoffs actually start Saturday against the 6-8 New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

"Absolutely, and we start on the road," Winston said of Saturday's rematch against the Saints, the second time the teams have played in the last 13 days. "We know we'll be on the road in a tough environment against the Saints, and it starts now. We've got to start preparing for the show."

The Buccaneers can clinch their first playoff berth since 2007 by winning their final two games against the Saints and at home against the Carolina Panthers on Jan. 1. They can make the playoffs even if they do not sweep their last two games, but coach Dirk Koetter said he does not want to consider any other scenario.

"We've got our hands full just worrying about the Saints," Koetter said. "The rest of is a bunch of math problems that are over my head."

Winston said, "I love math, but I don't trust percentages and probabilities. I trust our heart -- this team's heart -- and what we need to do to get in there."

The Buccaneers' defense threw a blanket over the Saints' high-octane offense in a 16-11 victory on Dec. 11, forcing Drew Brees into three interceptions and holding the league's top-ranked offense to 294 yards.

Brees did not throw a touchdown pass. The Saints average 423.3 yards per game and are second in scoring (29.0), but the Buccaneers pressured Brees far more than their one sack would indicate.

"We found ourselves in minus situations," Saints coach Sean Payton said. "They forced some turnovers. Our third-down numbers were poor (4-for-13). I think they hit the quarterback too early, too often, and I think it becomes hard to play that position when you have traffic in your face."

The Buccaneers' stout defense was recognized this week with the selection of defensive tackle Gerald McCoy to his fifth Pro Bowl. Middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, weakside linebacker Lavonte David and cornerback Brent Grimes also were selected as alternates.

Tampa Bay defensive coordinator Mike Smith, the former head coach of the Atlanta Falcons, said he was particularly happy for Alexander's selection. Alexander, a second-year player out of LSU, came up with 21 total tackles in Tampa Bay's 26-20 loss to Dallas last week, a loss that snapped a five-game winning streak.

"You're seeing a player who's really coming into his own," Smith said. "There's been a maturation process this season. The arrow is definitely going up. Kwon's best trait is his ability to run."

The Buccaneers rank fifth in the NFL with 29 takeaways, and they have 33 sacks.

"Since their Thursday night game (a 43-28 loss to the Falcons on Nov. 3), they would be first in the league in forced turnovers," Payton said. "They're getting pressure on the quarterbacks. They're in the top five on third down. And, offensively, they've done a nice job with the big plays. They're patient."

While not mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, the Saints likely will be on the outside looking in for the third consecutive season. They have stayed in the hunt mainly because of another marvelous season from Brees, who was snubbed in the Pro Bowl voting.

In the Saints' six victories this season, their opponents have averaged 29.5 points, an incredibly high total for Brees to have to overcome.

Brees' 4,559 passing yards through 14 games -- which leads the league -- is the second highest in his career. He has completed 71.1 percent of his passes for 34 touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

Brees took the Pro Bowl vote in stride.

"I haven't seen the list yet, but I am sure there are a lot of deserving candidates," he said. "It's not something I am concerned with."

Brees said he felt bad that center Max Unger, defensive end Cam Jordan and running back Mark Ingram did not make the list, but he understood that the Saints' record had an impact on the vote.

Despite the short week, both teams are relatively healthy.

Saints cornerback Delvin Breaux (shoulder) and fullback John Kun (hip) did not practice on Wednesday.

Not practicing for Tampa Bay on Wednesday were defensive end Robert Ayers (illness), tackle Gosder Cherilus and defensive end William Gholston.

Updated December 21, 2016

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