In the Numbers: Time Trap

Well, last week was something.

Wait. We already used that lead last week.

Unfortunately, it likely could be better used for this past week's loss to St. Louis.

Now the Saints (5-3) host Tampa Bay (4-3) in a game that means a whole lot more today than many of us likely thought it would.

New Orleans hopes the game isn't a time trap, one in which they're caught playing like they did a week ago or three weeks ago in a loss to the Bucs.

This week's cliche: 'We always prepare well,' or if you don't like that one, 'It's a division opponent. They know us like we know them.'

It's All History
New Orleans and Tampa Bay have played 39 times, with the Saints leading the series 22-17.

However, Tampa Bay has won six of the past nine games, including six of the past eight road games in the series.

And as NFC South foe, the Saints trail 9-10.

The Bucs won the last meeting 26-20.

Quarterback Drew Brees had the Saints right where they needed to be in the final minutes, knocking on the goal line to take a late lead. But Brees was intercepted in the end zone and the Saints lost.

Leading the pack:

Team leaders for the Saints heading into Jacksonville
Rushing (Total) Mark Ingram: 85 carries, 329 yards, 3 TD
Rushing (YPC) Darren Sproles: 6.8 yards per carry on 45 runs
Receiving (Total) Jimmy Graham: 49 catches for 713 yards, 5 TDs
Receiving (Catches) Darren Sproles: 51 catches for 389 yards, 2 TD
Scoring (non-kicker): Jimmy Graham: 30 points (5 passing TD); Darren Sproles 30 points (2 passing TD, 2 rushing TD, 1 return TD

Comparing the Teams (stats/rank)Z

Offense Yards/Game: Saints (444.2/2); Bucs (340.4/15)
Sacks allowed: Saints (19/22); Bucs (12/30)
3rd Down %: Saints (56.3%/1); Bucs (39.6%/14)
Red Zone %: Saints (55.3%/11); Bucs (35.0%/32)
Defense Yards/Game: Saints (346.0/15); Bucs (391.1/29)
Sacks recorded: Saints (19/11); Bucs (12/30)
3rd Down %: Saints (37.7%/16); Bucs (33.8%/8)
Red Zone %: Saints (73.7%/32`); Bucs (40.0%/5t)

2011 3's Company (third-down analysis)

112 plays overall of which 25 were runs and 87 were passes. They have averaged 7.64 yards per run and 8.63 yards per pass play.
Third-and-short (1-2 yards) - 18 runs, 14 first downs; 9 passes, 5 first downs
Third-and-(3-5) - 5 run, 3 first down; 25 passes, 13 first downs
Third-and-(6-10) - 2 runs, 1 first downs; 34 passes, 19 first downs
Third-and-(11-15) - 0 run, 0 first downs; 11 passes, 8 first downs
Third-and-(16-plus) - 0 runs, 0 first downs; 8 passes, 0 first downs

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