The Buccaneers of Tampa Bay won the first game they ever played at the Superdome in Louisiana. If they can do the same in their first postseason someday at this location, they will participate in the 2020 NFC Championship Game.
After opening their playoffs in 2020 with a road victory over the Washington football team in the Wild Card Round on Saturday night, the Buccaneers are now heading their ship to New Orleans, where they will take on the Saints’ NFC Southern Rivals in the playoffs. That destination was set on Sunday afternoon when New Orleans defeated the visiting Chicago Bears, 21
The two teams will play next Sunday, January 17, at 6:40 p.m. ET on FOX.
The Saints and Buccaneers, who finished first and second in the south, with 12-4 and 11-5 records, respectively, will meet for the third time this season. The Saints won both races, including a 34-23 decision at the Superdome in the first week. New Orleans also won at Raymond James Stadium in Week Nine with a 38-3 result in Sunday Night Football.
This first win for the Buccaneers in New Orleans doubled as the franchise’s first win, late in the team’s second expansion season on December 11, 1977. Another win next weekend obviously wouldn’t be the franchise’s first win since the season, but it would have pushes for their first game in the 2002 NFC Championship. The Buccaneers and Saints will meet for the first time in the playoffs.
The other NFC game in the divisional round will put the Los Angeles Rams in the Green Bay Packers. The Rams, a Wild Card team and sixth overall winner, defeated their division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, 30-20 on Saturday afternoon. Packers received the only first round of the conference as first place in the rankings.
The Saints brought the Buccaneers two of the five losses of the season, which proved to be the difference in the division’s ranking, as New Orleans won NFC South for the fourth consecutive year. These two races were the only ones that Tampa Bay lost by more than three points throughout the season. Their other three losses – from Chicago, Aries and Kansas City – were decided by total of three points.
The Buccaneers will take a 7-2 record at the Superdome next weekend, including their victory in Washington. The Saints are also 7-2 at home this season, including their victory over the Bears.
Tampa Bay have won six of their eight games since losing week nine to New Orleans, including four games played. In this period, the “pikans” scored an average of 34.1 points per game. With two losses from the Saints, the Bucs allowed six of the 21 sacks Brady endured throughout the season, and also won five Bucs quarterbacks. Brady made just seven interceptions in the remaining 15 games at Tampa Bay, including a Wild Card victory in Washington. New Orleans’ fourth-ranked defense was led by a fierce breakthrough that finished sixth in the league with sacks to pass.
The divisional game in New Orleans is most notable for its pairing with Hall of Fame quarterbacks Brady and Drew Breeze. Brady and Bryce are first and second in the NFL’s touchdown history, respectively (581 for Brady, 571 for Breeze). Brady’s post-season edge is much bigger as he holds the all-time lead with 75 touchdowns, while Breeze is sixth with 34. And, of course, Brady is chasing his seventh Super Bowl title as Bryce tries to add a second.
The Saints won the regular season against the Buccaneers, and with it the NFC South crown. However, Tampa Bay now gets a third crack to their opponent in the division, with a much more bet. An eighth victory on the road in 2020 would put the Buccaneers one step closer to returning home for the Super Bowl LV at Raymond James Stadium.