The Packers and Saints retained the two top spots, with Green Bay again claiming all nine first-place votes of the top, in this week's NFL.com Power Poll.
For the first time since 2008, the Saints have gone three straight games without fumbling. The Saints rank 13th in the league in dropped passes with six.
The Saints are favored by 4 1/2 points over the Buccaneers on Sunday at Tampa in a 3:15 p.m. game. The Bucs were blown out by the 49ers 48-3 last Sunday and fell from eighth to a tie with the Giants in the Power Poll.
The Bucs would like to rebound against the Saints and recapture a share of the NFC South lead. They fell to 3-2 with the loss and the Saints are division leaders at 4-1 with their narrow win over the Panthers.
If the season ended today, the Bills, Bengals, 49ers and Redskins would be in the playoffs and the Steelers, Jets, Bears and Eagles would be out. But there's still a long way to go.
The Bucs signed former LSU linebacker Jacob Cutrela from the Jaguars practice squad.
This year's NFL game in London is a "home" game for the Bucs against the Bears. The Bucs also played there in 2009.
The Bucs could be playing an annual "home" game in London every year. They are about to become the only team to return to London since the NFL started playing regular-season games there.
The Bucs already have had a strong fan club in the UK for years. The owners of the Bucs (the Glazer family) also own the Manchester United soccer team.
There's also the matter of attendance in Tampa Bay. Prior to the recent sellout of a "Monday Night Football" game against the Colts, the Bucs had not sold out their previous 10 regular-season games. When accepting the trip to London this year, the Bucs said part of their reasoning was done with the local economy in mind. Team officials said one less game at Raymond Jones Stadium cut the cost of paying for season tickets.
Plus, a yearly game in London would guarantee the Bucs at least one "home" sellout a season.
You won't see teams like the Saints, Packers and Steelers ever volunteering to give up a sure sellout at home.
But it's pretty easy to picture the Bucs and the Jaguars throwing their hands up when the NFL asks for volunteers.
(Photo above--Marques Colston)
by Ed Staton
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Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item. He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director. He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.
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