Final

Buccaneers 0

(6-8, 3-4 away)

Saints 41

(6-8, 4-3 home)

Coverage: FOX

1:00 PM ET, December 16, 2012

Mercedes-Benz Superdome, New Orleans, LA 

1 2 3 4 T
TB 0 0 0 00
NO 7 17 7 1041

Top Performers

Passing: D. Brees (NO) - 307 YDS, 4 TD

Rushing: M. Ingram (NO) - 14 CAR, 90 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: V. Jackson (TB) - 6 REC, 81 YDS

Buccaneers-Saints Preview

STATS LLC

After blowing another late lead, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' playoff hopes are in serious jeopardy.

To make the postseason, the Buccaneers will likely need a string of wins -- and will certainly need some help -- starting with Sunday's road game against the struggling New Orleans Saints.

After its fourth consecutive win Nov. 18, it appeared that Tampa Bay was headed for its first postseason berth since 2007. A three-game losing streak since, however, has put the Buccaneers (6-7) in serious danger of missing the playoffs once again.

Tampa Bay, which has dropped its last three by a combined 11 points, blew an 11-point lead in the final seven minutes Sunday and allowed Philadelphia to snap an eight-game skid with a 1-yard pass as time expired.

The 23-21 defeat marked the fourth time this season that the Buccaneers have failed to capitalize on a fourth-quarter lead. They couldn't maintain a late six-point advantage in the first loss of their slide, falling 24-23 to Atlanta on Nov. 25.

"Every loss is tough, but we can't dwell on it. A lot of guys are disappointed, but they still understand we've got a lot of football to play the rest of the year," defensive end Da'Quan Bowers said. "You can't dwell on that one game. We've got to correct the fixable things and transfer our focus to New Orleans."

Tampa Bay is two games behind wild-card leaders Seattle and Chicago and has four other teams in front of it as well. The Bucs have made matters worse by dropping six of nine conference games.

"Right now, we're playing for a lot," coach Greg Schiano said.

To avoid their longest losing streak of the season, Tampa Bay will try to take advantage of a team that's all but out of the playoff picture. While New Orleans (5-8) hasn't been eliminated, it would need an unlikely set of circumstances to stay alive past this week -- a win and losses by Chicago, Seattle and Washington.

A repeat of last week's performance won't help.

With a 52-27 loss to the New York Giants, the Saints matched their third-highest total for points allowed in a game. New Orleans gave up a team-worst 287 yards on six kickoff returns, including a 97-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

"We have a prideful group in this locker room," running back Mark Ingram said. "Our focus going forward is just getting better every single day and improving individually. We've had three straight losses. It would be nice to close the season with three straight wins."

The Saints defeated Tampa Bay 35-28 on Oct. 21, erasing a 21-7 second-quarter deficit as Drew Brees threw four touchdowns.

The Bucs' Josh Freeman passed for a career-best 420 yards and three TDs in that game, but he hasn't topped 265 yards in the seven contests since.

Rookie Doug Martin ran for 85 yards, including a 36-yard TD, on 16 carries versus the Saints. He has four games of at least 128 yards rushing in the last seven.

Brees has struggled in the last two contests, throwing one touchdown and seven interceptions while posting a 53.8 passer rating.

"Each of these games is so important, still so important, because we have a lot of prideful guys," Brees said. "We're not about to shut it down and feel like the season is lost. There's still a lot that can be done."

New Orleans has won two straight over Tampa Bay.

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Passing Leaders

Tampa BayCMP%YDSTDINT
J. McCown63.242024
M. Glennon70.812110
New OrleansCMP%YDSTDINT
D. Brees68.357032

Rushing Leaders

Tampa BayCARYDSAVGTD
B. Rainey371975.30
J. Lane15454.00
New OrleansCARYDSAVGTD
M. Ingram241436.03
K. Robinson14594.21

Receiving Leaders

Tampa BayRECYDSAVGTD
M. Evans1313810.60
B. Myers131078.20
New OrleansRECYDSAVGTD
J. Graham1820011.12
M. Colston511022.00

Team Averages & NFL Ranks

TEAM OFFENSETEAMPER GAME AVERAGE
Total YardsTB
 
 364
NO
 
 411
Yards PassingTB
 
 249
NO
 
 312
Yards RushingTB
 
 115
NO
 
 99
TEAM DEFENSETEAMPER GAME AVERAGE
Yards AllowedTB
 
 380
NO
 
 440
Pass Yds AllowedTB
 
 297
NO
 
 293
Rush Yds AllowedTB
 
 83
NO
 
 148

Head to Head Matchups (Since 2001)

New Orleans leads 12-11
Oct 21, 2012TB 28, NO 35
Nov 6, 2011TB 16, @NO 27
Oct 16, 2011TB 26, NO 20
Jan 2, 2011TB 23, @NO 13
Oct 17, 2010TB 6, NO 31
Dec 27, 2009TB 20, @NO 17
Nov 22, 2009TB 7, NO 38
Nov 30, 2008TB 23, NO 20
Sep 7, 2008TB 20, @NO 24
Dec 2, 2007TB 27, @NO 23
Sep 16, 2007TB 31, NO 14
Nov 5, 2006TB 14, NO 31
Oct 8, 2006TB 21, @NO 24
Jan 1, 2006TB 27, NO 13
Dec 4, 2005TB 10, @NO 3
Dec 19, 2004TB 17, NO 21
Oct 10, 2004TB 20, @NO 17
Dec 7, 2003TB 14, @NO 7
Nov 2, 2003TB 14, NO 17
Dec 1, 2002TB 20, @NO 23
Sep 8, 2002TB 20, NO 26
Dec 23, 2001TB 48, NO 21