Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints v. Bucs

Jim Henderson's Black & Gold Breakdown: Saints v. Bucs

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - After the first weekend of the NFL season, half of its teams are coming off an opening-game loss. One eighth of those teams meet Sunday in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

For both coaches, the message is the same: It's just one loss. It doesn't define our season.

The greater concern is that of the Tampa Bay Bucs that it does. In their home defeat by the lowly Tennessee Titans, they and their rookie quarterback floundered in nearly every area.

To take some of the pressure off Jameis Winston, it might be wise for the Bucs to rely more on Doug Martin and their running game. Martin averaged nearly five yards per carry against the titans. He once rushed for 144 yards against the Saints. And in last season's finale, the Bucs rushed for 183 yards against the Saints in a game Tampa Bay was determined to - and successfully did - lose to secure the No. 1 draft choice.

In that game, the Bucs pulled rookie wide receiver star Mike Evans after a first half that saw him catch five passes, including a touchdown.  He was injured and unavailable in the first meeting between these two teams in the Saints' overtime win last October in the Dome. He didn't play last week with a hamstring injury.

Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins did, catching both of Winston's touchdown passes. The Saints had their problems dealing with Cardinal  tight end Darren Fells a week ago, and have lost another safety for the season since.

It's been nearly four years since the Saints last lost to the Bucs. The victories in the interim haven't come easily, and probably won't on Sunday either if the winning streak over Tampa is stretched to eight.

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