NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Familiarity is said to breed contempt. All you can say with certainty about the Bucs and the Saints clashing for the second time in three weeks is that familiarity breeds familiarity. If that contributes to the Saints avenging a 16-11 loss at Tampa two weeks ago in the Saints' lowest scoring game of the season remains to be seen.
It would seem the loser in the first contest would profit more from the experience gained than the winner. That was the case the last time the schedule contained such a quirk. In 2013 the Saints beat Carolina at home on Dec. 8 and then lost to them two weeks later on the road.
In their loss to the Bucs back on Dec. 11, the Saints re-learned what they already knew coming into that one: That it's hard to win when Drew Brees doesn't throw a touchdown against the Bucs for the first time as a Saint, does throw three interceptions, and the Saints lose the turnover battle three to nothing.
But Brees followed up on that performance with one of his best of the year last week in Arizona. And the Bucs and Jameis Winston came back down to earth later Sunday night when the Cowboys ended the Bucs' five-game winning streak. In that one, Winston completed less than 50 percent of his passes, threw three interceptions, was sacked four times, fumbled twice, and reverted to some of the immaturity he'd displayed earlier in his career by head-butting a Dallas linebacker for a crucial penalty.
The Bucs continue to have little success running the ball while wide receiver Mike Evans - on his way to his first Pro Bowl - hasn't had a touchdown reception in his last three games.
Against the Bucs, much of it comes down to taking care of the football. With that, the Saints and their fans are all too familiar.