Gameday Preview: Bucs Hoping for a Merry Christmas

The Bucs are on the move and will be among the elite next season
The Bucs are on the move and will be among the elite next season /

TAMPA — Oh how crazy a season can be. The Bucs are hoping good ol’ Saint Nick has some good gifts in store for them tomorrow as the Seahawks come to town with aspirations of keeping playoff hopes of their own alive. The Bucs got one gift already, extra rest as the game has been flexed to the 4:15 slot on Fox. The gift at the top of the wish list is a playoff spot and the irony of Sunday’s matchup is even with a better record than them, the Bucs may be kept out of the playoffs by the Seahawks even with a win. The Seahawks are still in the hunt for a division title and the Bucs can play spoiler to that.

The Bucs are more preoccupied with hoping Santa brings them the gift of some well timed losses to the Packers, Saints and Giants as well as two consecutive wins for the hometown club. “We still have an opportunity, which is great,” coach Raheem Morris said. “My message to the team is for us the playoffs start this week.”

This weeks team is a bad example of a playoff caliber team despite the dripping irony that it may actually be a playoff team. The Seahawks own the league’s second to worst run game and the passing game is not winning any accolades either. Then again they will be matched-up against a Bucs defense that is being patched together and is dangling by a thread. The 31st ranked run game of the Seahawks is going against the 29th ranked run defense of the Bucs. It’s an amazement that this game is flex-worthy. The Bucs finally survived a week without any significant injuries on defense last week, but it still resulted in a loss. The Bucs defense isn’t the best it can be right now, but coach Raheem Morris called upon it like it was. The result blew up in the Bucs face and they gave the Lions their first road win since the 90’s. It can be argued that the Bucs are just as bad an example of a playoff team as the Seahawks are. The only problem with that argument is one thing: offense.

LaGarrette Blount is becoming a star in Tampa
LaGarrette Blount is becoming a star in Tampa /

Josh Freeman is no Matt Hasselbeck and he proves that week in and week out. Freeman is the pulse of this team and that pulse is a healthy and strong one. Mike Williams, Arrelious Benn and Kellen Winslow are starting to grow as a three headed threat that can bail Freeman out in tough situations. What else is there to bail Freeman out is a running game that is continuously growing as a Batman and Robin tandem out of the backfield. Cadillac Williams and LaGarrette Blount have complimented each other way more than anyone would have every dreamed of. Blount by himself is silencing critics and earning legions of fans in the process, including his head coach who continues to use him in situations where there is high risk, yet high reward.

“Blount will run right through tackles. He’ll make you look like you’re not even trying,” said Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll, who faced Blount while coaching at USC. “He’s a really good football player.”

The bottom line is there isn’t much more to say about this game other than the Bucs need a win. If they really want to make the playoffs and are serious about making a run, then they must win Sunday and not merely for the mathematics of it. If they were to lose to the Seahawks, and drop two straight games to teams with losing records which was what the Bucs were priding themselves on all season, then what’s the point of a playoff run? If the Lions and Seahawks beat you, do you really think you matchup well against the Saints or Bears? The Bucs still need help, but it’s still slightly too early to look ahead to next year. Tell that to me at the neginning of the season and I call you crazy. Oh how crazy a season can be.