There's a curious trend at work in the NFC South that both the Saints and the Bucs have benefitted from and been victimized by.
Since realignment in 2002, the NFC South has had its last place team finish first the next season every year except 2008.
The Saints did it most recently last year. The Bucs have done it twice in 2005 and 2007 and have hopes of doing it again this year. For Tampa there are many reasons why.
Their three wins to date have come over teams with a cumulative record of 3-12.
Though they only have 4 sacks on the season, the Bucs have nine interceptions, second only to Atlanta in the league. That kind of larceny has contributed to a +5 turnover differential.
A year ago at this time the Saints were +8 in turnover differential. Through five games this season they are -1.
If this game is tight a very interesting contrast could be under-scored. When the Saints lost to the Bucs in the dome in their last meeting in December, Garrett Hartley missed a 37-yard field goal to win the game wide left with three seconds left in regulation.
The Bucs would win the game in over-time on Connor Barth's 47-yard field goal.
Barth comes into this game having made his last 12 attempts.
Hartley re-gained his confidence after that miss and never missed again in the regular season or the post season. We can only wonder if he can re-gain his confidence against the Bucs after it took a jolt and his job away for two games after his 29-yard miss in over-time against the Falcons.
The Bucs have been riding a hot kicker. The saints are currently saddled with a cold one. That's a trend the saints probably can't afford to perpetuate this week.