During his time as head coach of the Buccaneers, Bruce Arians has a record of 0-4 against the Saints. Arians will try to break that streak with a berth in the NFC Championship riding on the outcome.
Arians was asked by reporters on Monday what it will take to beat the Saints in round three of the 2020 season.
“The familiarity with the players — [New Orleans cornerback] Marshon Lattimore knows [Tampa Bay receiver] Mike Evans — who’s going to win that battle?” Arians said. “Same thing [with Buccaneers tackle] Tristan Wirfs and [Saints defensive end] Cam Jordan — it comes down to one-on-one battles of guys who know each other. Who’s going to make those game-changing plays in this game?”
Arians resisted the idea that the Saints have a psychological edde due to recent success against the Buccaneers.
“I don’t think there’s any more swag than our offense has — I guarantee that,” Arians said. You can’t get caught up in the finger pointing and the trash talking. You’ve got to play football. The Bears’ young receiver got caught up in it and got thrown out of the game. It’s going to happen, that’s who they are. You just have to deal with it and win your one-on-one matchups. They have a ton of swagger and they should.”
Despite the struggles, the Buccaneers are ready to go.
“I think they’re really, really looking forward to it,” Arians said of his team. “Our guys are ready to play anybody, anywhere night — that’s for sure. We all kind of had a feeling we knew where we were going, so it was just get yourselves rested up. This extra day is going to help, so get rested up because you know it’s going to be a physical, physical battle.”
It also will have extremely high stakes. Division rivals since 2002 and members of the same conference since 1977 (the Buccaneers spent 1976 in the AFC), the Saints and Buccaneers have never met in the postseason. They will for the first time on Sunday night.