Eight weeks in the NFL season who thought the Buccaneers would be playing for first place in the NFC South? Raise your hands. No one? Not surprised.
But here we are.
This weekend the Bucs are playing the team’s most meaningful game since they lost to the JaMarcus-Russell-led Raiders two years ago (that one still hurts).
I’m both excited and completely frightened by this game…
THE DARK CLOUD
Look, the Bucs have beaten the teams they’re supposed to beat (Browns, Rams, Cardinals), but have been blown out by the good teams (Steelers, Saints). This is another of the good teams.
Not only are the Falcons arguably the best team in the NFC, they are virtually unbeatable at home. Matt Ryan has lost one game at home since becoming a pro. That’s amazing.
This team is loaded on offense. Michael Turner, Tony Gonzales and let’s not forget the one of the best wide receivers in football Roddy White.
As for the Bucs, look for another week of a patchwork offensive line, another rookie starter (this time Erik Lorig at FB) and the continued lack of pass rush.
THE SILVER LINING
This is the first time all season I feel like the Bucs have balance on offense. With the emergence of LeGarrette Blount, the other team will actually have to play the run. That really should free up Freeman to have more time to throw the ball or at least open up play-action a little.
The other good news here, Blount and the other rookies are starting to show up. Arrelious Benn had a huge catch last week and is starting to show signs of being a solid number two. McCoy is getting some pressure, helping the secondary. And Cody Grimm seems to be everywhere.
VIEW FROM MY COUCH
Offensively the Bucs are pretty similar to the Falcons: solid young QB, really only one WR that scares you, a TE that can be huge or disappear, and a powerback that has breakaway speed.
The difference is the Falcons are a much more experienced team and that will make the difference.
For the Bucs to win they will have to play mistake-free football, penalties and turnovers will cost the team the game. Also the run defense needs to show up and the secondary has to shut down White.
This could be the game that finally gets Tampa some respect. I’m picking Tampa here in an upset if for no other reason than it’s time for “Matty Ice” to lose at home again.
What do you think? Leave a comment.
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About the Author
Written by Justin Chechourka
Born and raised in California, I inexplicably became a Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. Now I bleed red and pewter. The best part of being a Bucs fan in California... I never have to worry about blackouts.