Week 2: Saints-Buccaneers matchup analysis

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

New Orleans Saints (1-0) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1)
Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, at Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla. - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Kevin Burkhardt, John Lynch, Erin Andrews
*Keys to the game: The interior offensive line of the Saints was a trouble spot last week, which was unexpected given All-Pro OG Jahri Evans' reputation. He was easily disrupted and thrown off-balance, drawing multiple penalties at home. Evans and a reconfigured offensive line got to mash more than expected in Week 1, when Sean Payton returned to call 29 running plays. That approach helps QB Drew Brees and spares the team's defense. Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman could be entering dire straits after producing a two-year low in total offense in a loss to the Jets last week. Freeman hasn't fared well against 3-4 defense and recognizing changing fronts has been a shortcoming. One issue: He doesn't gave the good-hands guy in the middle of the field teams like the Saints do with Brees favorites TE Jimmy Graham and RB Darren Sproles. The Saints' challenge is getting to, and bringing down, Freeman before he finds Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams outside.
*Matchup to watch - Saints RCB Keenan Lewis vs. Bucs WR Vincent Jackson. The Saints went out and signed Lewis for his length to help against big receivers like the 6-5 Jackson, who torched them for seven catches for 216 yards and a TD and six receptions for 81 yards in their two meetings in 2012.
*Player spotlight - Bucs RB Doug Martin. In two games last season against the Bucs' rookie phenom, the Saints had mixed success with their old 4-3 that allowed 148.6 yards per game on the ground. Martin gained 85 yards on 16 carries with a TD in the first game, but he was held to 16 yards on nine attempts in a 41-0 blowout in New Orleans.
*Fast facts: The Buccaneers had 13 penalties in Week 1. ... Brees has 10 touchdowns, two interceptions and a 119 passer rating during New Orleans' current three-game winning streak against Tampa Bay.
New additions in the secondary, CB Darrelle Revis and S Dashon Goldson, complicate matters for the Saints' offense but Brees gets the best of the Buccaneers yet again.
*Our pick: Saints 27-17

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