On Day of Orange, Red Zone Effectiveness Looms Large

So far this season, Tampa Bay’s offense has been effective inside their opponents’ 20-yard line.  Based on the ability to convert red-zone trips into touchdowns, the Buccaneers are tied with Carolina for seventh in the league.  Eight of the Bucs’ 13 trips into opposing red zones have resulted in TDs rather than field goals (four) or turnovers (one).

The Bucs will be wearing orange on Sunday but they still need to be good in red.  Maintaining that inside-the-20 effectiveness, or even improving upon it, could be the difference between victory and defeat on Sunday.  Opposing the Bucs in Week Seven is the New Orleans Saints, who rank first in the NFL in passing yards, eighth in points scored and third in red zone touchdown percentage.

In other words, it’s tough to completely shut the Saints’ offense down, and that means that Tampa Bay – even if the proverbial “shootout” doesn’t materialize – must make the most of their own scoring opportunities.

That was one of the main issues on the mind of Head Coach Greg Schiano, just hours before his team would try to improve to 3-3 in a key divisional matchup with the Saints.

“Sevens add up a lot quicker than threes,” said Schiano.  “When you get down there, it’s critical that you score a touchdown, not only for the scoreboard but for momentum and everything that goes along with it when you’re home.  We’re going to be home again today, and you put touchdowns on the scoreboard and that gets everybody jacked up.  That’s going to be a huge part of this game, because we know we can score, and I believe we can score.”

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