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Keys to the Game: Buccaneers vs. Saints

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Closing Thoughts

Dec 22, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram (22) runs the ball as he is defended by Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) during the second half of the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

Did You Know?

  • It’s last call for Jimmy Graham to set a record, as he needs a 100-yard receiving game to break Tony Gonzalez’s previous record for receiving games by a tight end. He’s also two touchdowns shy of tying Rob Gronkowski’s record of 17 touchdowns. Graham has 1,144 yards coming into the game, and would need a beast of a game (183 yards) to merely tie Gronk’s receiving yardage record.
  • Drew Brees (4,781 yards) needs just 219 yards passing to eclipse his third straight 5,000 yard passing season. Peyton Manning can break Drew’s record from 2011 of single season passing yardage, as he needs only 266 yards against the Oakland Raiders. It isn’t exactly a meaningless game for the Broncos, so look for this to become a focal point during the game.
  • This is the 44th meeting between these two teams, and the Saints lead the all-time series 26-17.
  • Since the NFC South was put in place in 2002, the Saints are just 5-6 at home against the Bucs, but winners of their last two.
  • Drew Brees is 10-6 lifetime against the Bucs, with a 67% completion percentage, 4,334 yards, 34 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions.

The Playoff Picture

It’s easier if you just go here. We only just want to worry about the Saints winning at this point.

Saints Injury Report

  • PROBABLE: TE Josh Hill (Hamstring), RB Pierre Thomas (Eye), S Rafael Bush (Ankle), LB Keyunta Dawson (Calf), LB Kevin Reddick, (Shoulder), QB Drew Brees (Knee), T Terron Armstead (Shoulder), WR Marques Colston (Back), G Jahri Evans (Knee)

There’s nothing else to say other than the Saints have to win this game, and that’s all that the team should worry about at this point. Sure, there’s a ton of distraction, because they will not know what position they are playing for until kickoff. To be in a spot where they could have all but had the division wrapped up, and not have to worry about this during the final week of the season would have been great.

There also has to be an eerie feeling for some of the Saints players. The reality is that some could be playing their last game as a Saint, and in front of the home crowd. While many don’t want to come to terms with it, it’s a harsh reality that could happen.

This is a must win game. The Saints are in a jam, and need to break the slump. They’ll get it done. End of story.

Final Prediction: Saints 31, Bucs 14

What’s your final game prediction? Let us know below!

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