Need to get ready for the game? Look no further than Bucsblitz.com's "Bucs Primer." Along with a game capsule, the Primer also provides links to all of Bucsblitz.com's coverage leading up to the game. So before the capsule, here's a look at our complete package of stories this week, including links to them so you can study up before the game:
BucsBlitz.com's Matthew Postins will blog live from Raymond James Stadium during Sunday's game, followed by a post-game chat at 10 p.m. in the Bucsblitz.com chat room.
KICKOFF: Sunday, 1:00 ET
TV: FOX, Sam Rosen, Tim Ryan, Chris Myers
SERIES: 31st meeting. The Saints lead the series, 19-11, after sweeping the season series a year ago. Payton's team squeezed out a 24-21 win in the Superdome on Oct. 8 and then crushed the Bucs, 31-14 in Raymond James Stadium on Nov. 5. The Saints are 8-4 all-time in Tampa.
PREDICTION: Saints 30-17.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Saints got away from their ground game too quickly in their opening loss to the Colts. RBs Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush should see plenty of action early in an attempt to open the passing lanes for QB Drew Brees. Bucs MLB Barrett Ruud is coming off a 13-tackle game and must fill the running lanes so Tampa Bay can force Brees to attack the teeth of the Cover-2. ... Saints CB Jason David saw the same film the Bucs watched this week -- the one in which he was burned for three touchdowns against the Colts. Tampa Bay would love to get him matched against WR Joey Galloway and hope David continues to struggle with his transition from Cover-2 to man defense. One way or the other, the Bucs need a few big plays out of the passing game with RB Cadillac Williams ailing.
KEY INJURIES: TE Mark Campbell (back) could be a game-time decision; DT Brian Young (foot) should be back in the starting lineup. Bucs: Williams (ribs) said he is feeling much better and to not rule him out. He would be replaced by Michael Pittman. CB Brian Kelly (groin) is doubtful.
FAST FACTS: Brees had 41 completions of at least 25 yards last year, but none in the season-opening loss to the colts. ... Galloway has seven touchdowns in the past five meetings.
TE Mark Campbell did not participate in practice again Thursday with a back problem and likely won't play against the Tampa Bay Bucs.
TE Eric Johnson will start against the Bucs and get the bulk of the work with Campbell likely missing his second straight game.
DT Brian Young continues to work his way back from a fractured right foot that he suffered just before training camp and could return to the starting lineup for Sunday's game.
CB Brian Kelly did not practice Thursday due to a groin strain. He is expected to be replaced by Phillip Buchanon.
NT Chris Hovan missed a second straight day of practice Thursday but is expected to play against the Saints.
WR Joey Galloway returned to practice Thursday. He was held out Wednesday as part of the Bucs' plan to keep him fresh.
QB Luke McCown is expected to be the No. 2 quarterback against the Saints.
FB B.J. Askew is expected to see more playing time Sunday against the Saints with Michael Pittman getting more reps as a third down back.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
While the Saints were down and out after that 41-10 pummeling they took from the Indianapolis Colts in the season opener, wide receiver David Patten was looking at the bright side like only he can.
Patten, an 11-year NFL veteran, is in his first season with the Saints. But his previous experience came in handy when the Saints were taken down rudely by the Colts.
When Patten was with the New England Patriots (2001-04), they were clubbed 31-0 by the Buffalo Bills in the 2003 season opener. Despite the bad loss, they merely dusted themselves off and went on to win 17 of the next 18 games and capped a 17-2 season with a win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII -- the second of their three titles.
"The main thing is the coaches tried to stress that nothing had changed and we had to put that game behind us," Patten said. "The bottom line is you have to have confidence in each other and just get back on track.
"The thing we have to remember is a season is not decided by one game," he said. "The only time it's decided by just one game is in the postseason. We played the Super Bowl champs and we knew it was going to be a tough game. So the only disappointment is in the manner that we lost."
Patten said the disappointment felt by the Saints could be a catalyst for a good season if the reaction after the loss to the Colts is an indicator.
"There are a lot of (mad) players in here," Patten said the day after the game. "To me, it means they care. It means they care a lot. On the bus ride to the airport, on the plane, there wasn't much said. I think each player was looking at himself and figuring a way how to use this experience as a learning tool."
Just like the 2003 Patriots did.
"That team had veterans on it and we listened to what our coaches said," Patten said. "It's like Coach (Sean) Payton told us. It was one game and it isn't going to make or break our season. What it represents is one game out of a 16-game schedule and we will learn from it. Mark my words, we will learn from this and draw from this experience."
Four days after suffering bruised ribs at Seattle, Cadillac Williams returned to practice Thursday.
Williams, who gained 60 yards on 12 carries against the Seahawks before his injury in the third quarter, still is considered questionable because he was limited in practice but his status could be upgraded Friday.
"I've been optimistic that he would play and today was a good sign, although we'll see how he feels tomorrow when we practice again," coach Jon Gruden said.
If Williams plays, he might be forced to wear some extra padding to protect his ribs.
"He's a man of few words, he doesn't say a lot," Gruden said. "He's played enough football, I think, to know whether he can or can't. We'll give him another day to see where he is after he sleeps on today's workout. We'll have some dialogue, before, during and after the game, I'm sure, about how he feels."