The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one of the biggest media darlings of the NFL preseason, have been left reeling following a 48-3 dismantling at the hands of this week's new "it" team, the San Francisco 49ers. The Bucs will host the New Orleans Saints this week in a critical divisional matchup against a Super Bowl contender. Win or lose, the Bucs will need to at least put up a fight if they hope to regain traction this season.
They try do so without starting running back LeGarrette Blount, however, who will miss at least this week with a knee injury suffered during Sunday's loss to the Niners. The bruising Earnest Graham should receive the bulk of the rushing load. His 4.7 yards per carry this season in limited work suggests that he can be effective in Blount's stead.
He will need to be if the Bucs hope to keep pace with the Saints' scoring machine. Unfortunately, Josh Freeman hasn't been nearly as effective as fans had hoped entering the year. In fact, he has already thrown as many interceptions this season (six) as he did throughout all of last season. Opposite him will be one of the league's best in Drew Brees, coming off a 359-yard passing performance against the Carolina Panthers.
Game Date/Time: Sunday, October 16; 4:15pm ET
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Saints: WWL 870AM, 105.3FM
Buccaneers: WFUS 103.5, WDAE 620 AM