If there is any time for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to make a statement, about their team and their season, that time is Sunday. They take on the reigning World Champions in the New Orleans Saints. It is a huge game, and, for a team coming off of an emotional victory over the favored Cincinnati Bengals, it is a chance to prove that they plan to be a serious contender.
The key to beating the Saints will be getting pressure on Drew Brees. With both Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas injured — neither played last week against Arizona — the Saints will not be able to run the ball. They will also not be able to throw those little screens that they love so much. This is huge, because the Draw and the Screen are the two patented blitz-killers — along with the quick slant. Without the ability to check into these sort of plays, the Saints will be hard-pressed to escape a ferocious blitz. Brees will have to hang in the pocket and throw the ball downfield. The added bonus is that the corners and safeties can step up to take that quick slant away, knowing that Brees will not have time to burn them deep with the pressure he will have coming at him.
It’s a dream situation for a defense, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are poised to move to four and one with a victory over last year’s hottest team. If they bring the linebackers on every play and watch those slants, they can create turnovers and keep Brees off the field.