Bucs will get LeGarrette Blount back Sunday vs. Saints
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have a crucial NFC South matchup with the New Orleans Saints on Sunday and it appears that the Bucs will get back starting running back LeGarrette Blount for the game. New Orleans opened as an 8-point home favorite on WagerWeb.com’s NFL football bets.
The Bucs badly need Blount because his backup Earnest Graham, was lost for the season with a torn right Achilles’ tendon. So not only will Blount be the starter but also as the third down back after missing the past two games with an MCL sprain. Graham often took his spot in most third down situations.
“Oh yeah, I know I’m going to play third downs in this game,” Blount said. “I’m probably not going to play all of them, but I know I’m going to play quite a few of them. I’ve shown that I know the protections and I know the routes and everything and I can catch the ball, so that’s going to help us out tremendously. It’s going to let me stay in the game a little bit longer and play a lot more snaps, so I’m excited.
“I feel good. Everything is back in store, everything is where it needs to be,” Blount said. “My recovery was a little bit faster than what we thought, so everything is going real well. It’s looking good for this week.”
Nobody will benefit more from the return of Blount and the Bucs running game more than quarterback Josh Freeman, who threw four interceptions in a 24-18 loss to the Chicago Bears in London. He leads the NFL with 10 picks this year. When Freeman is at his best, the Bucs use play-action to set up the vertical passing game.
The Bucs were off this past week and will no doubt see an angry Saints team that was just shocked by the previously winless Rams. New Orleans has just the No. 28 rush defense in the league. The Bucs beat the Saints 26-20 in Tampa on Oct. 16 behind 303 yards and two TDs from Freeman and 109 yards from Graham in Blount’s place. Thus a win Sunday would clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker for Tampa Bay vs. New Orleans, which leads the South by a half game.