The Buccaneers have to beat the Colts if they hope to repeat as Super Bowl champs.
There aren’t many must-win games for the Buccaneers on a relatively easy schedule this season, but the game against the Colts this weekend certainly is. The Bucs haven’t been great in games against decent opponents this season, and Indy serves as a great game for Tampa to prove that they can step up against playoff talent.
The Colts experienced a shaky start to the season, but they have righted the ship in a huge way. Their recent success has stemmed from the discovery of an identity built behind a potent rushing attack with Jonathan Taylor, and the Colts are starting to compile some impressive wins behind a very well-constructed roster.
If you overlook a few early losses to good teams and some foul luck in overtime, this team could easily be in first place in the conference. This is the exact type of game that the Buccaneers need to win if they want to build some confidence for the postseason.
There’s no other way to say it; the Buccaneers have struggled against adversity this season. The Bucs beat the bad teams with ease more often than not, but the good teams have been trouble. The games against the Rams, Saints, and Football Team felt out of reach from the opening whistle, and losses like those show the shortcomings of this roster.
Tampa needs to be able to beat teams like that if they want to succeed in the postseason, and using Indy as a firm test of some of the best talent in the AFC will show how prepared this roster is.
To make the prospect even better, Tampa is still playing without some of their key playmakers, but they can’t use that as an excuse if they lose. Every team deals with injuries. However, winning this game down several key players would be a massive morale boost for a team that is inching closer to focusing on the playoffs.
After watching the Bills and Saints implode, there is a real chance that the game this Sunday will be one of the toughest of the season for the defending champs, and nothing but winning can be tolerated.
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