Bradley Handwerger / Sports Reporter

METAIRIE, La. Saints coach Sean Payton watches film of Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman and realizes one thing very quickly the third-year quarterback is not someone who should be overlooked.

'I think you see that on tape when you watch Josh,' Payton said Monday, a day after his team faced impressive rookie quarterback Cam Newton and seven days before facing Freeman.

'I think you see that on tape when you watch this team. I think you see someone who is patient, who will check the ball down, who has command of the two-minute, who knows how to handle the final drive to win the game.'

Payton sees similarities between the two, namely that both instill confidence in their teammates.

And while Payton said he believes Newton will get there, Freeman is ahead of the curve, having started 30 games already in his young career.

'You're going to see a big, strong, physical player who I think has very quickly developed into one of the better quarterbacks in our league,' Payton said of Freeman.

The Saints, 4-1 and leading the NFC South by a game, go to Tampa Bay (3-2) this weekend for a 3:15 p.m. game.

There they'll face a Buccaneers team coming off of a 48-3 pounding by San Francisco, a score that surprised many, including Payton.

'Certainly when you play a team that comes off a tough game like that, you understand they're going to be focused and ready and wanting to get past that loss,' Payton said.

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