Two games ago, the Tampa Bay Bucs were annihilated in Atlanta, 56 to 14. It was their third straight loss to open the season and led many to proclaim them the worst team in the NFL. They rebounded last Sunday with a thrilling last-second 27-24 win over the Steelers in Pittsburgh, where the franchise had never won before.
They - like the Saints - are 1 and 3, tied for the NFC South basement. Despite their identical records, their respective confidence and the confidence of their fans in them at the moment could hardly be more dissimilar.
The Saints are coming off a cringe-worthy stinker against the Cowboys. While the Bucs are 1 and 3 with an arrow upward, the Saints are 1 and 3 with an anchor downward.
And yet, the Saints are double-digit favorites over the Bucs, despite the most recent performances of each. That's largely based on the Saints' recent dominance of the Bucs and their dominance over whomever the opponent might be in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
The Saints have swept the Bucs the last two seasons and won five straight against them overall. They've won nine straight in the Dome, where Sean Payton has won his last 17 regular season games.
Of course, that's similar to the Saints' recent record of success against the Cowboys and in Dallas. And it's painful to remember how little that foreshadowed what took place in ATt&T Stadium one week ago.
So the Saints are favored as they have been in every game this season - favored to display the all-around prowess we haven't seen in four games.
The Saints are out to get something started while keeping their dominance of the Buccaneers going.
Tampa Bay's out to keep going what they started in Pittsburgh, and stop any Saints recovery before it can even begin.