Brady, Brees bring big numbers into Bucs-Saints playoff tilt

TAMPA BAY (12-5) at NEW ORLEANS (13-4)

Sunday, 6:40 p.m. ET, Fox

OPENING LINE — Saints by 4

RECORD VS. SPREAD — Buccaneers 10-7; Saints 10-6-1

SERIES RECORD — Saints lead 37-21

LAST MEETING — Saints beat Buccaneers 38-3 on Nov. 8, 2020, in Tampa Bay

LAST WEEK — Buccaneers beat Washington 31-23; Saints beat Bears 21-9

AP PRO32 RANKING — Buccaneers No. 8, Saints No. 4

BUCCANEERS OFFENSE — OVERALL (7), RUSH (28t), PASS (2).

BUCCANEERS DEFENSE — OVERALL (6), RUSH (1), PASS (21).

SAINTS OFFENSE — OVERALL (12), RUSH (6), PASS (19).

SAINTS DEFENSE — OVERALL (4), RUSH (4), PASS (5).

STREAKS, STATS AND NOTES – The combined ages on game day of Buccaneers QB Tom Brady (43) and Saints QB Drew Brees (42) will be 85, the highest in NFL history. … Brady became the oldest QB to win a Super Bowl two seasons ago at 41. … The Saints are four-time NFC South champions and swept both regular-season meetings. … The Buccaneers’ playoff victory last week was their first since winning the Super Bowl at the end of the 2002 season … Brady’s playoff victory last weekend was his first since winning his sixth Super Bowl with New England at the end of the 2018 season. … Brady has won a record 31 postseason games, with the first three coming at the end of the 2001 season. He passed for 381 yards last week, setting a franchise postseason record. … Brady is slated to make his NFL-record 43rd playoff start. … Saints QB Drew Brees will make his 18th career playoff start and has won nine postseason games, all with New Orleans after going 0-1 in the playoffs with the Chargers. Including postseason games, Brady has 90,973 career yards passing and Brees has 85,590. … Tampa Bay ranked third in the NFL with 30.8 points per game while New Orleans ranked fifth at 30.1. … The Buccaneers’ league-leading run defense gave up 80.6 yards rushing per game, then 86 yards last week in the playoffs. … Bucs RB Leonard Fournette had 132 scrimmage yards (93 rush, 39 receiving) and a TD rushing in the wild-card round win. … Tampa Bay RB Ronald Jones set career highs in scrimmage yards (1,143), yards rushing (978) and TDs rushing (7) in 2020. … Bucs receiver Mike Evans ranked fourth with 13 TDs and had 1,006 yards receiving. … Tampa Bay WR Antonio Brown has averaged 80.5 yards receiving in 11 career playoff games. … TE Rob Gronkowski has 12 career postseason TDs. … Bucs LB Lavonte David had nine tackles and a sack in his postseason debut. … Brees’ 80,358 yards passing in the regular season rank first in league history. … Saints RB Alvin Kamara rushed for 99 yards and a TD last week. Kamara set franchise records in 2020 with 21 total TDs and 15 TDs rushing. Kamara led all NFL running backs with a career-high 83 receptions this season. … Saints RB Latavius Murray missed practice time this week with a thigh injury after scoring a touchdown last weekend. … Saints WR Michael Thomas missed nine regular-season games with ankle injuries but returned from a three-game absence last week. Thomas has averaged 94.3 yards in six career postseason games. … Saints WR/return specialist Deonte Harris had seven catches for 83 yards last week. … WR Tre’Quan Smith returned to practice this week after being designated to return from injured reserve. … Saints DE Cameron Jordan is the only player with at least seven sacks in each of the past nine seasons. Jordan has 5 1/2 sacks, eight tackles for loss and four passes defensed in 10 career postseason games. … DE Trey Hendrickson led the Saints and tied for second in the NFL with 13 ½ sacks but missed New Orleans’ playoff opener with a neck injury before returning to practice on a limited basis this week. … Fantasy tip: It’s never a bad idea to have Brady on your side in the postseason.

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