One quarter of the way through the season, the Bucs are 3-1 and a half game out of first in the NFC South. Are they for real or a product of their comparatively weak schedule?
Total: 839 votes
What they're saying
I'm still not sold on Tampa Bay, but I've been very impressed with the play out of second-year QB Josh Freeman. He continues to play with a lot of poise for such a young player. They still need to get more out of their running game if they want to be a playoff team.
Adam Caplan, Fox Sports
Well, if I were a Tampa Bay fan, I wouldn't be scrambling for Super Bowl tickets and a hotel room in Dallas just yet. But a run at the playoffs this year no longer is out of the question. At the very least, Tampa Bay is now respectable.
Pat Yasinskas, ESPN.com
Toughest game of the weekend to call. The Bucs are still playing the aw-shucks-we're-not-very-good card (that's how GM Mark Dominik reacted to me (last) week about their 3-1 start), but the Saints know better. Tampa Bay is building a dangerous defense with a prized 22-year-old quarterback and a better set of receivers than you think. This game could go either way. I see Drew Brees making two or three plays downfield and that being the difference. Saints, 20-12.
Peter King, Sports Illustrated
The Saints are behind the Bucs in the standings. Who thought that? This is now a big game for New Orleans to try and regain its 2009 form. But the Bucs match up well with the Saints. Remember, they upset the Saints late last season in New Orleans. This is also a second consecutive road game for the Saints. That's always trying. This will be a close one. Saints, 28-26.
Pete Prisco, CBSportsline
By the numbers
18 Touchdown passes by Saints QB Drew Brees in nine career starts against the Bucs.
10 Touchdowns by the Saints offense through the first five games.
22 Touchdowns by the Saints offense through the first five games of 2009.
25 Most points for the Saints in a game this season.
12 Takeaways by the Bucs, including nine interceptions.
143.2 Rushing yards per game allowed by the Bucs, 30th in the league.
|Bucs 17, Browns 14
|Bucs 20, Panthers 7
|Steelers 38, Bucs 13
|Bucs 24, Bengals 21
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