The New Orleans Saints (1-3) will play their first home NFC South contest of the season Sunday, Oct. 5 when they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3) at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The contest will be the Saints' final game before they observe their bye in week six. The Saints will not play again at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome until they host the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 26.
Off to a 1-3 start where all of the games they have dropped have taken place on the road, including a 38-17 defeat at the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, the Saints will welcome a return to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and NFC South play, two areas where they have enjoyed resounding success. New Orleans is riding a club-record nine-game win streak in their home stadium. The Saints have also been particularly effective vs. NFC South opponents since Coach Sean Payton arrived. New Orleans is 10-6 against the Buccaneers, 13-4 against the Atlanta Falcons and 7-7 vs. the Carolina Panthers since 2006 (30-17 overall for a .638 winning percentage).
The Saints have swept the last two season series' against the Buccaneers, including a 42-17 victory at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Dec. 29, 2013 to close out the regular season and clinch a playoff berth. In that contest, QB Drew Brees completed 24-of-31 passes for 381 yards with four touchdown passes. The Saints have not lost to the Buccaneers since dropping a 26-20 decision at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Oct. 16, 2011.
Brees and RB Khiry Robinson were the top performers on offense last week in the loss to the Cowboys. Brees completed 32-of-44 passes for 340 yards with two touchdowns and a 100.6 passer rating. Robinson carried eight times for a career-high 87 yards and also had a career-long 62-yard rush in the fourth quarter. Adding two receptions for 18 yards, he finished with 105 total yards from scrimmage. Defensively, ILB Curtis Lofton led New Orleans with 16 tackles (ten solo) and S Kenny Vaccaro added six stops and one sack.
The Saints rank third in the NFL in total offense (425.8) and 29th in defense (396.0). Through the first quarter of the season, Brees has completed 115-of-161 passes (71.4%) for 1,203 yards with seven touchdowns, three interceptions and a 99.5 passer rating. Robinson is the club's leading rusher with 40 carries for 215 yards (5.4 avg.) with one touchdown. TE Jimmy Graham is the team's leading receiver with 32 receptions for 340 yards (10.6 avg.) and a team-high three touchdowns. Lofton leads New Orleans with 47 stops.
New Orleans will look to finish on a good note prior to their bye. Since 2006, the Saints have posted a 6-2 record in the game before their open date, with a five-game win streak in this contest snapped in 2013. Following the bye, the Saints will travel to Ford Field for an Oct. 19 matchup against the Detroit Lions.