National Football League
Preview
New Orleans at Tampa Bay
When: 4:25 PM ET, Sunday, December 31, 2017
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

With a playoff berth already secured, the New Orleans Saints aim for the NFC South title when they visit the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday. The Saints need just a victory to claim the crown but also would finish atop the division with either a loss by Carolina or a tie by both clubs.

New Orleans put itself in position to win the division by bouncing back from a loss at Atlanta in Week 14 with victories over the New York Jets and Falcons. The title would be the first since 2011 for the Saints, who went 7-9 in four of their last five seasons - including each of the last three. Tampa Bay hopes to avoid ending the campaign with a six-game losing streak, as it has not been victorious since recording a 30-20 win at Miami on Nov. 19. Each of the Buccaneers' last four setbacks has been by fewer than seven points, including last week's 22-19 defeat at Carolina.

TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Saints -6.5. O/U: 50.5

ABOUT THE SAINTS (11-4): Drew Brees eclipsed 70,000 career passing yards last week, joining Peyton Manning and Brett Favre as the only quarterbacks in NFL history to accomplish the feat. With his 239 yards against Atlanta, he raised his season total to 4,089 - extending his league record to 12 consecutive campaigns of 4,000 or more. Michael Thomas (98) is one of two players to have at least 90 receptions in each of his first two seasons in the NFL and needs five catches to surpass Jarvis Landry (194 from 2014-15) for most in his first two campaigns.

ABOUT THE BUCCANEERS (4-11): Mike Evans leads the team with 946 receiving yards and can join Randy Moss and A.J. Green as the only players in NFL history with at least 1,000 in each of their first four seasons. Jameis Winston lost three fumbles in last week's setback and has gone eight consecutive starts without a victory. Rookie Chris Godwin suffered an ankle injury against Carolina and has not practiced this week while fellow wide receiver DeSean Jackson hopes to return from a similar ailment that kept him out of action versus the Panthers.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Brees leads the NFL with a 71.9 completion percentage and can eclipse Sam Bradford's 71.6 mark last season for the best in league history.

2. Tampa Bay's Gerald McCoy leads all NFL defensive tackles with 39.5 sacks since 2013.

3. New Orleans RB Alvin Kamara is tied for first among NFL rookies with 75 receptions.

PREDICTION: Saints 34, Buccaneers 17
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
New Orleans 11-4 W2 28.3 19.7 7-1 4-3 3-2 1-0 - - 8-3
Tampa Bay 4-11 L5 20.3 23.9 3-4 1-7 4-8 0-1 - - 2-9
Last Meeting
New Orleans Tampa Bay
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
11/5/17 TB 10 NO 30 407 151 256 200 87 113
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New Orleans D. Brees 81.5 263 2 0
Tampa Bay R. Fitzpatrick 53.3 68 1 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New Orleans M. Ingram 16 77 4.8 0
Tampa Bay P. Barber 11 34 3.1 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New Orleans A. Kamara 6 84 14.0 1
Tampa Bay D. Jackson 2 25 12.5 0
Touchdowns Player TD
New Orleans A. Kamara 2
Tampa Bay L. Stocker 1
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New Orleans D. Brees 71.9 4089 22 8
Tampa Bay J. Winston 65.0 3141 18 8
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New Orleans M. Ingram 217 1089 5.0 12
Tampa Bay D. Martin 135 409 3.0 3
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New Orleans M. Thomas 98 1151 11.7 5
Tampa Bay M. Evans 66 946 14.3 5
Touchdowns Player TD
New Orleans M. Ingram 12
Tampa Bay C. Brate 6