NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) - When the 2013 NFL season kicked off questions surrounded the Saints defensive unit, one that set an NFL record in 2012 becoming the worst defense in NFL history.
New defensive coordinator Rob Ryan came in and completely turned around the New Orleans defense with a new scheme and new attitude.
That defense should be the key in Sunday's Buccaneers clash. If Atlanta can upset Carolina and the Saints sack Tampa Bay, coach Sean Payton's team will claim the NFC South Division title and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.
You can bet the Saints will put heat on Tampa Bay quarterback Mike Glennon who was sacked 7 times in Sunday's loss to St. Louis.
Glennon said,"I think it's a big part of the game is to keep that offense off the field and we want to control the ball as long as we can because that's a powerful offense and one of the best offenses in the league."
If Saints quarterback Drew Brees is to have success in the passing game on Sunday, the offensive line must provide better pass protection.
Brees was sacked 6 times and tossed two interceptions in the loss to Carolina.
Carolina Panthers head coach Ron Rivera announced today that veteran wide receiver Steve Smith will not play Sunday against the Falcons in Atlanta. He sprained his left knee during the Panthers 17-13 win over the Saints on Sunday. Ted Ginn Junior will replace Smith.
Running back Jonathan Stewart and defensive tackle Colin Cole are also listed out for the Atlanta game.