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New Orleans Saints vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: game preview

Kickoff is set for noon CT

The New Orleans Saints (6-9) will finish their 2014 season when they travel to Raymond James Stadium to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-13). Last Sunday, the Saints hosted the Atlanta Falcons at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and were defeated 30-14, eliminating them from contention for the playoffs as they fell to third place in the NFC South behind the 6-8-1 Carolina Panthers and the 6-9 Falcons. The season finale at Tampa Bay will be regionally televised on FOX (WVUE-FOX 8 locally) with a 12 p.m. CST kickoff.

Against the Falcons, the Saints offense produced 328 total net yards (57 rushing, 271 passing). QB Drew Brees connected on a fourth quarter touchdown pass to TE  Jimmy Graham to move to within six points and a 20-14 deficit with 5:48 remaining in the contest. The New Orleans defense then responded by forcing Atlanta to punt while taking just over two minutes off the clock. However, the Falcons defense held the lead when CB Robert McClain stepped in front of a Brees pass intended for WR Nick Toon at the New Orleans 18-yard line and returned it five yards to the 13, setting up a field goal at the two-minute warning that gave Atlanta a 23-14 edge.

New Orleans will look to close out their 2014 season on a positive note against the Buccaneers, who dropped a 20-3 decision vs. the Green Bay Packers on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium. Riding a three-game winning streak away from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, the Saints will look to finish 4-4 on the road and to post their first .500 road mark since 2011. The Saints have also swept the last two season series' against the Buccaneers and will be looking to do so in three consecutive seasons. Currently riding a six-game winning streak against Tampa Bay, the Saints will be looking to attain only their second seven game winning streak against an opponent (Los Angeles Rams, December 9, 1990-October 3, 1993). The Saints have not lost to the Buccaneers since dropping a 26-20 decision at Raymond James Stadium on October 16, 2011.

New Orleans narrowly defeated the Buccaneers 37-31 in overtime at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 5 in the first meeting of the season between the two clubs. In that contest, RB Khiry Robinson carried 21 times for 89 yards with one touchdown, with the final straw being an 18-yard touchdown run in overtime to secure the victory. New Orleans trailed in the contest 31-20 with 13:28 left in regulation, but chipped away at the deficit to send it to overtime for Robinson's game-winning run. The Saints got to within five on a 27-yard rushing touchdown by RB Pierre Thomas with a failed two-point conversion attempt. Then, the Saints took advantage of three Tampa Bay penalties and backed them up to their one-yard line, where OLB Junior Galette sacked Buccaneers QB Mike Glennon in the end zone for a safety. The Saints then drove 34 yards in eight plays and K Shayne Graham booted a 44-yard field goal which would tie the score and send the contest to overtime.

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