Rewind:Josh Freeman had a dismal performance in the opener against the New York Jets. He completed 15 of 31 passes for 210 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The offense never was able to get into any sort of positive rhythm. Linebacker Lavonte David has been taking the blame for the loss because of his late penalty. But the fact is the Bucs easily could have put the game away if Freeman had been able to move the offense with any consistency.
Fast-forward: The revamped New Orleans defense looked pretty good in the opener against Atlanta. It’s safe to assume that defensive coordinator Rob Ryan will try to blitz often to put pressure on Freeman. Some help from the running game would be nice, but Freeman needs to use receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams against a New Orleans secondary that still is a work in progress. Freeman needs a good game -- and a win -- to quiet fans who already are calling for rookie Mike Glennon to take his place. You can bet that Ryan has talked to his brother, Jets head coach Rex Ryan, and gotten some pointers on how to defend against Freeman.
Unpleasant memories: The last time Freeman faced the Saints might have been the worst game of his career. On Dec. 16, 2012, he threw four interceptions against the league’s worst-ranked defense in a 41-0 loss. Freeman then followed that with another four-interception game against St. Louis, and that put an end to any chance of the Bucs locking up Freeman with a long-term contract extension.
Prediction: I’ll say Freeman is better than he was against the Jets, but still not great. I say he throws for about 250 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.