The New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers rivalry game in the NFC South has been an interesting matchup since Dirk Koetter became the head coach of the Buccaneers.

Koetter was the offensive coordinator under then-Buccaneers head coach Lovie Smith, and when the Glazer family felt another NFL team might hire Koetter as its own head coach, they decided to fire Smith and elevate their offensive coordinator to head coach.

Koetter has gone head to head against Sean Payton five times since he was named the head coach in early 2016 and he has a 3-2 mark versus the Saints.

The Bucs defeated the Saints 16-11 in the opening game of 2016 and then lost to the Black and Gold 31-24 later in the year.

Last season the Saints thumped the Buccaneers 30-10 early in the season and then the Bucs won the regular season finale 31-24.

The Buccaneers overwhelmed the Saints defense in the 2018 season opener for a 48-40 win in a great performance by then-Buccaneers starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The wily veteran completed 21-of-28 throws for 417 yards, four touchdown passes and no interceptions.

Fitzpatrick also rushed for 36 yards and a score as the Buccaneers offense got after the Saints secondary all day long.

But things have taken quite a turn since that opening season defeat to the Buccaneers.

Fitzpatrick is no longer the starter and Jameis Winston, after serving his suspension to start the season, is back as the starting quarterback.

The Saints peeled off 10 straight wins before losing to the Dallas Cowboys 13-10 in their last outing.

The Bucs got off to a fast start, but have cooled off and now they sport a 5-7 mark.

Here are few things that standout out heading into the Saints-Bucs game:

A huge part of the Saints success has been a high powered offense that has racked up 419 points, which is tied for second in the NFL with the Los Angeles Rams (only the Kansas City Chiefs have more than the Saints and Rams with 444 points).

The Buccaneers defense has given up the most points in the NFC with 355 and only the Cincinnati Bengals at 371 and the Oakland Raiders at 367 have given up more this season.

The Saints are Plus 9 in the giveaway/takeaway ratio, the most important stat in football.

The Buccaneers are Minus 18 in that crucial stat. The only team that has a worse number is the San Francisco 49ers, who are sporting a Minus 20 in the giveaway/takeaway stat.

The Buccaneers have thrown 23 interceptions and lost seven fumbles.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees has thrown just three interceptions this season.

So that means one out of every five times the Buccaneers have had the football offensively they have turned it over.

That statistic is staggering and it’s even more staggering that Tampa Bay has five wins when giving up that many points and turning the ball over as much as it has.

But you are what your record says you are and the Saints are playing a team that has matched up well against them and Winston and star wide receiver Mike Evans have had success versus the Saints.

It will be quite a matchup from what looks to be on paper a total mismatch. A win gives the Saints back-to-back NFC South titles for the first time ever and an 11th win, which would match last season’s regular season mark with three regular-season games left to play.

And it’s expected to be a weather game, which makes it all the more interesting for both teams.

ROBERTSON WAS ONE OF THE STATE’S ALL-TIME GREATS

Isiah Robertson, one of the all-time great football players from the state of Louisiana, was killed Thursday in a limousine crash in Texas.

Robertson is the only Southern University football player to ever be selected in the first round of the NFL draft and was the first Jaguars player to make The Sporting News and Time Magazine All-America teams. He was also selected to the AP and UPI small college All-America teams in 1970.

In 1971 Robertson was selected with the 10th overall selection in Round 1 by the Los Angeles Rams and he had great Louisiana company that year in the draft.

"It’s amazing to think about how God blessed me and so many other players from the state of Louisiana," Robertson said to me in an interview last year. "I grew up like many with humble beginnings and now all of a sudden I’m playing in the NFL and in Los Angeles. It’s still stunning that after Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning and Dan Pastorini get selected with the first three picks, then the (Philadelphia) Eagles pick Richard Harris, a defensive end from Grambling with the fifth overall pick, the Atlanta Falcons select Joe Profit, a running back from then-Northeast Louisiana with the seventh pick, the Pittsburgh Steelers pick (Houma native) Frank Lewis with the eighth overall pick. Frank was not heavily recruited when he came out of high school out there on the bayou and he ends up with the Steelers and then the Rams pick me with the 10th overall pick. How about that?  You’ve got four players with Louisiana ties and none from LSU go in the NFL in the first round. I just remember looking at that paper with our names in it in Round 1 and LSU had zero picks in the first round and none in the second round either. Times have changed."

Robertson’s comments go to show how much college and pro football have changed since 1971.

In 1971 LSU had just three players selected in the NFL draft and the highest drafted Tigers player was quarterback Buddy Lee, who the Chicago Bears selected with the 167th overall pick.

In 1971 Southern University had four players selected in the draft including Robertson in the opening round and former NFL All-Pro wide receiver Harold Carmichael (Philadelphia Eagles) later in the draft.

Grambling University had eight players selected in the 1971 draft an six of the eight players selected were picked within the Top 100 selections.

In 1971 Robertson was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl six times.

Robertson had acting roles in movies and television after his NFL career ended, but he felt his greatest accomplishment in life was opening the House of Isaiah, a drug and alcohol faith-based drug and alcohol rehab center in Mabank, Texas.

"I almost lost my life to drugs after I finished playing football and I wanted to give back because I had been given so much," Robertson said. "Telling people about how faith changed my life I hope changes others." 

NFL analyst Mike Detillier is based in Raceland.