Needless to say, last Sunday's game against Arizona didn't go as expected. And now the task is to at the very least keep pace in the NFC South with a divisional game at Tampa Bay. It's strength on strength this week New Orleans has the fifth-best pass offense in the league while the Bucs boast the ninth-best pass defense.

Atlanta leads the division followed by Tampa Bay, New Orleans and Carolina.

New Orleans' three wins have come by 5, 3 and 2 points to teams that a combined 1-13. Meanwhile, the losses by 3 and by 10 have come against opponents that are a combined 7-3.

The Saints opened as a 41/2-point road favorite.

It's All History
In a 36-game history, the Saints lead 21-15. But since Sean Payton took over in New Orleans, the Saints are 4-4, including splitting the past two seasons.

New Orleans has a 9-7 advantage over Tampa Bay in the Tampa, including 5-4 at Raymond James Stadium.

New Orleans' highest point total came in 1987 when the Saints scored a 44-34 win. While the Saints haven't been shut out, they've come close, scoring only a field goal in a 10-3 loss in 2005.

Tampa's fewest points came in a 9-3 Saints win in 1998 while the Bucs most points came in a 48-21 win over New Orleans in 2001.

The longest win streak for either team is six games, held by the Saints from Oct. 23, 1983 through Sept. 25, 1988. Tampa has never won more than two in a row, done five times

The last game ended 20-17 in favor of New Orleans in overtime.

Since 2006, the Saints have allowed just 80 sacks, second-best in the NFL over that time behind Indianapolis' 70.

And in 2009, the Saints allowed only 20.

But extrapolate out this season and the tally isn't nearly as nice. Through five games, the Saints have allowed eight tackles. At this pace, the Saints would allow about 26 this season.

The eight through five games is good for 10th-best in the NFL.

Comparatively speaking
Let's do some comparing between the Saints and Buccaneers:

Points scored/allowed: Saints (19.8/20.4), Bucs (18.5/20.0)
Sacked/yards lost: Saints (8/54), Bucs (10/54)
Yards per game: Saints (346.8), Bucs (313.8)
Yards per game allowed: Saints (306.4), Cardinals (340.8)
Turnover margin: Saints (minus-1), Cardinals (plus-5)

2010 3's Company (offensive third-down analysis)
61 plays overall of which 10 were runs and 51 were passes. They have averaged 3.4 yards per run and 5.55 yards per pass play.
Third-and-short (1-2 yards) - 9 runs, 6 first downs; 11 passes, 8 first downs
Third-and-(3-5) - 0 run, 0 first down; 13 passes, 5 first downs
Third-and-(6-10) - 0 runs, 0 first downs; 18 passes, 9 first downs
Third-and-(11-15) - 1 run, 0 first down; 2 passes, 0 first downs
Third-and-(16-plus) - 0 runs, 0 first downs; 7 passes, 0 first downs

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