The first week of the NFL season is here and the Bucs will travel to New Orleans to take on a familiar opponent in the Saints this Sunday. Tampa Bay was in the news during the offseason and the brunt of it was directed toward Jameis Winston and his three-game suspension. Winston won’t be available against the Saints [b][url=http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/lavonte-david-jersey]http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/lavonte-david-jersey[/url][/b] , but that doesn’t mean the Bucs can’t compete or win the game without him.Let’s dive into this week’s preview.OverviewAll-time series record: New Orleans leads the all-time series, 32-20, and holds a 19-13 record against the Bucs in NFC South play. The Bucs are 9-14 at home and 11-18 on the road. Longest win streak: The Saints won seven straight games against the Bucs from December 2011 until December 2014. Winston won his first NFL game and broke the streak against the Saints in 2015. The Saints have had their share of good luck against Tampa BayReinhold Matay-USA TODAY SportsLargest victory: Tampa Bay was crushed 41-0 by the Saints during their second meeting of the 2012 season.2017 final offensive & defensive rankings: The Bucs finished with the ninth ranked offense (27th run, 4th pass) and the 31st ranked defense (23rd run, 22nd pass). New Orleans finished with the second ranked offense (5th run, 5th pass) and the 17th ranked defense (16th run, 15th pass). What to watch forWithout having played any games yet, there aren’t many solid storylines to follow; however, here are a few nuggets to keep an eye on Sunday:Mike Evans and the Bucs’ all-time touchdown (receiving) record: Evans needs just two touchdowns to tie Jimmie Giles’ all-time record of (34). Can he get there despite facing off against Marshon Lattimore?Mike Evans vs. Marshon Lattimore: The talented rookie got the best of Evans last season to the tune of two terrible games and instigating a one-game suspension against the Bucs’ receiver. Can Evans turn the tables?Alvin Kamara: The NFL’s rookie of the year will be a tough test for the Bucs. Kamara absolutely shredded them in both meetings last season. But without Mark Ingram, it will be interesting to see if he can handle the full load.The Bucs’ kicking game: If it’s a close game, then all bets are off when it comes to Tampa Bay’s chances at making an important field goal. Chandler Catanzaro missed two extra points in the preseason, which is not a good omen.Records for DeSean Jackson: He has the chance to move into the number one spot in several categories for his career.DJax has four receiving touchdowns of 80 or more yards and needs one more to tie the NFL record of five, shared by Derrick Alexander, Lance Alworth, Bob Hayes and Jerry Rice. He also has 22 touchdowns of 60 or more yards (including returns) and needs one more to tie Jerry Rice (23) for the most total touchdowns of 60 or more yards in NFL history.Impact players Tampa Bay QB Ryan Fitzpatrick: He’s no Winston, but he’s the quarterback, therefore one of the most important players on the field.WR Mike Evans: The Bucs will need some big plays out of him on Sunday.TE O.J. Howard: He represents a major mismatch for the Saints. It would be wise for the Bucs to use him often. DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Tampa Bay’s prize free-agent needs to carry over the momentum from the offseason into the regular season.LB Lavonte David: Arguably the Bucs’ best defender. He will be all over the place. CB Brent Grimes: Someone has to anchor the Bucs secondary. Tampa Bay will need a big performance from its defenseKim Klement-USA TODAY SportsNew OrleansQB Drew Brees: See above statement about Fitzpatrick except Brees is much, much better.RB Alvin Kamara: The Saints’ offensive key to the 2017 season is ready for round two. WR Michael Thomas: Brees’ favorite target is set for a big day if the Bucs don’t get their secondary figured out.DE Cameron Jordan: The Bucs will have their hands full with the best defensive player on the team. CB Marshon Lattimore: After establishing himself as one of the NFL’s top corners, Lattimore is bound for a big 2018. S Marcus Williams: I’d think Williams has a bone to pick after his last play of the 2017 season, wouldn’t you? Game OutlookThe Bucs are coming off of a season-ending win against the Saints and are trying to beat them back-to-back for the first time since 2011. The odds - both literally and figuratively - aren’t in the Bucs’ favor. They are (9.5) point underdogs and without Winston, we aren’t quite sure as to how the offense will perform just yet. There’s also the fact that this game will be played in the Superdome and I’m willing to bet that it will be rocking for the first game of the season. A Buccaneer win, while possible, is not likely. On the bright side, there aren’t many other things in life that are less predictable than Week 1 in the NFL. - With today’s totals, the Buccaneers now have 3,914 passing yards this season, the second-most in NFL history through 11 games. Tampa Bay has 4,997 total yards this season [b][url=http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/kwon-alexander-jersey]http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/kwon-alexander-jersey[/url][/b] , the third-most in NFL history through 10 games.MOST PASSING YARDS THROUGH FIRST 11 GAMES - (NFL History)1. St. Louis Rams 20003,9302. Tampa Bay Buccaneers20183,9143. Denver Broncos20133,6364. New Orleans Saints20113,5665. Indianapolis Colts 20143,554MOST YARDS THROUGH FIRST 11 GAMES - (NFL History)1. St. Louis Rams 20005,1482. Los Angeles Rams 19515,0473. Tampa Bay Buccaneers20184,9974. Denver Broncos20134,9675. New Orleans Saints20114,9466. Los Angeles Rams 20184,9357. Miami Dolphins 19844,7998. Los Angeles Rams 19504,7969. New England Patriots 20124,79410. New England Patriots 20074,778- On San Francisco’s first drive of the game, DE Carl Nassibregistered a sack and forced fumble of QB Nick Mullens. Nassib now has 5.5 sacks on the season, including at least a half sack in each of the past four games. He now has 11.0 sacks in his career. The forced fumble was the first of his career.- On the ensuing drive, QB Jameis Winston drove the Buccaneers 73 yards in seven plays, including a 42-yard pass to WR Mike Evans. The drive culminated in a six-yard touchdown pass from Winston to TE Cameron Brate. The drive lasted 3:50.- Brate now has four touchdown catches this season and 21 in his career, surpassing WR Vincent Jackson for the ninth-most touchdown receptions in NFL history. MOST RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS – Team History 1.WR Mike Evans, 2014-Pres. 372. TE Jimmie Giles, 1978-86343. WR Kevin House, 1980-85 314. WR Joey Galloway 2005-07 285. WR Mark Carrier, 1987-92 276. WR Mike Williams, 2010-13 257. TE Dave Moore, 1992-01, 2004-06 248. WR Bruce Hill [b][url=http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/vernon-hargreaves-iii-jersey]http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/vernon-hargreaves-iii-jersey[/url][/b] , 1987-91 239. TE Cameron Brate, 2014-Pres.2110. WR Vincent Jackson, 2012-16 20- Since the start of the 2016 season, Brate has 18 touchdown catches, tied for the second-most in the NFL among tight ends during that span.2016-18 NFL MOST TOUCHDOWN RECEPTIONS - Tight Ends1.Travis Kelce KC192.Cameron BrateTB182.Jimmy Graham GB 18*4.Zach Ertz PHI 17*4.Kyle RudolphMIN17**Does not include Week 12 game- The Buccaneers added a field goal in the second quarter, with K Cairo Santos connecting on a 41-yard attempt to finish off a 12-play, 53-yard drive lasting 5:11. The field goal was Santos’ first as a Buccaneer.- Santos made his second field goal of the game with six seconds remaining in the first half, a 39-yard field goal that ended an eight-play, 38-yard drive lasting 1:31.- With the 49ers facing first-and-15 from their own 26-yard line in the second quarter, Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Mullens for an 11-yard loss. The sack brought Pierre-Paul’s season total to 10.5, becoming the first Buccaneers player to register 10.0 or more sacks since 2005 (Simeon Rice, 14.0).- Pierre-Paul’s 10.5 sacks this season are tied for the third-most in the NFL.2018 NFL SACK LEADERS1. DT Aaron Donald (LAR) 14.52. DE Danielle Hunter (MIN)11.5*3. DE Jason Pierre-Paul (TB) 10.53. DE Chandler Jones (ARI)10.5*5. DE Frank Clark (SEA)10.05. DE Myles Garrett (CLE) 10.05. LB Von Miller (DEN)10.0*5. DE J.J. Watt (HOU) 10.0*5. LB T.J. Watt (PIT) 10.0*10. DE Bradley Chubb (DEN)9.010. LB Dee Ford (KC) 9.010. DT Chris Jones (KC) 9.0* Does not include Week 11 game- On the play following Pierre-Paul’s sack, DT Gerald McCoyregistered his sixth sack of the season, a four-yard takedown of 49ers QB Mullens. McCoy has now recorded a sack in each of the past three games, matching a career best. McCoy has 4.5 sacks over the past four games.- Since returning from injury, McCoy’s 4.5 sacks rank second in the NFL.2018 NFL SACK LEADERS (Week 9-12)1. DT Chris Jones (KC) 5.02. DT Gerald McCoy (TB) 4.52. DT Aaron Donald (LAR) 4.52. LB Matt Judon (BAL) 4.55. DE Chandler Jones (ARI)4.0*5. LB Kyler Fackrell (GB) 4.0*10. LB Dee Ford (KC) 9.0* Does not include Week 12 game- Since 2013, McCoy’s 43.5 sacks rank second in the NFL among defensive tackles.2013-18 NFL SACK LEADERS1. Aaron Donald (LAR)53.52. Gerald McCoy (TB)45.52. Geno Atkins (CIN) 45.04. Jurrell Casey (TEN) 37.0*5. Ndamukong Suh (LAR)33.0* Does not include Week 12 game- The Buccaneers scored their second touchdown of the game in the second half, with RB Peyton Barber scoring on a two-yard run to finish a six-play, 75-yard drive lasting 2:37. The drive was highlighted by a 34-yard catch by WR Mike Evans.- Barber – who rushed for a touchdown in Week 11 at N.Y. Giants – is the first Buccaneers player to rush for a touchdown in consecutive games since Doug Martin last season (10/5/17 vs. NE-10/15/17 at ARI).- Evans finished the game with six catches for 116 yards, his second consecutive game with at least 100 receiving yards. Evans now has six 100-yard games on the season, tied for the second-most in a single season in team history (Antonio Bryant, 2008).- Evans has 1,073 receiving yards this season, the fourth-most in the NFL and the most by a Buccaneers player through 11 games in team history.2018 NFL RECEIVING YARDAGE LEADERS1. WR Julio Jones (ATL)1,3052. WR Tyreek Hill (KC)1,1063. WR Michael Thomas (NO) 1,0804. WR Mike Evans (TB)1,0735. WR Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)1 [b][url=http://www.tampabaybuccaneersteamonline.com/gerald-mccoy-jersey]Womens Gerald McCoy Jersey[/url][/b] ,107- Evans has now recorded at least 1,000 receiving yards in each of his first five seasons, joining A.J. Green (2011-15) and Randy Moss (1998-2002) as the only players in NFL history to record 1,000 or more receiving yards in each of their first five seasons. Evans also extends his team records for total 1,000-yard seasons and consecutive 1,000-yard seasons.- QB Jameis Winston threw his second touchdown of the day in the fourth quarter, connecting with WR Adam Humphries on a 28-yard scoring reception to finish a 10-play, 85-yard drive lasting 5:00. Humphries now has four touchdown catches this season and eight in his career. Humphries has caught a touchdown in each of the past two games and has four touchdowns in the past four games.- Winston now has 79 career passing touchdowns, eclipsing Vinny Testaverde for the second-most passing touchdowns in team history.MOST TOUCHDOWN PASSES - (Team History)1. Josh Freeman, 2009-13 802. Jameis Winston, 2014-Pres.793. Vinny Testaverde, 1987-92774. Doug Williams, 1978-82 735. Trent Dilfer, 1994-9970- The Buccaneers now have 27 passing touchdowns this season, tied for the second-most in a single season in team history. The team has 3,914 passing yards this season, the fourth-most in a single season in team history.MOST PASSING TOUCHDOWNS - SINGLE SEASON (TEAM HISTORY)1.2016* 292.2018* 272.2012272.2003275.2017* 265.201026* Dirk Koetter OffenseMOST PASSING YARDS - SINGLE SEASON (TEAM HISTORY)1.2017*4,3362.20123,9833.2016*3,9264.2018*3,9145.2015*3,852* Dirk Koetter Offense- DT Vita Vea recorded his second sack of the season in the fourth quarter, bringing down Mullens for a seven-yard loss. Vea – who had three tackles for loss in today’s game – is the first Buccaneers rookie to post three or more tackles for loss since 2012 (Lavonte David, three at Denver, 12/2/12).- The Buccaneers have posted consecutive games with at least four sacks for the first time since 2013 (9/8/13 at N.Y. Jets-9/15/13 vs. New Orleans).- Tampa Bay recorded the first takeaway of the game when CB Ryan Smith intercepted Mullens in the end zone. The interception was the first of Smith’s career.- The Buccaneers registered their second interception of the game on San Francisco’s final drive, after DB Josh Shaw tipped a pass that was picked off by S Isaiah Johnson, the first interception of Johnson’s career.
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