By now, we know the Buccaneers are not going to be undefeated this season. Aw shucks. But we also know that the team that finished so hot last season is still in the house.
Yes, it’s taken the team some time to pull things together, and we have had a battle with the injury bug. But we are coming out on the healthy side of the season, and the missing pieces are starting to show back up.
Really, with all of the difficulties, it’s hard to believe Tampa is sitting on an 8-3 record, and all the bad the prognosticators projected for the rest of the NFC South has come to pass. At this rate, the Buccaneers might be able to clinch the division in the next week or two.
How does the division looks: the Bucs are in the proverbial catbird seat at 8-3, the next closest is Atlanta at 5-6, with both New Orleans and Carolina sitting at 5-7. A win Sunday will leave the Bucs at 9-3, with the rest of the division squatting at 5-7—a solid four-game advantage for Tom Brady and crew.
So, in some ways, the season may not have panned out as well as we might have wanted. We lost a game to the Rams, despite fighting our way back into it. And we dropped two in a row to teams that should never have earned a W against us. Yes, the very same Saints, and that dastardly Washington Football team.
Still, last week, when it looked like we could be on our way to lose to Indianapolis, the real Tampa Bay Buccaneers team showed back up in the second half and took home the W.
The Buccaneers need to do exactly that tomorrow. A quick trip to Atlanta, secure the win, and head home at 9-3. That is what needs to happen. Sure, it may not. It may be that Matty Ice Ryan has had a new freezer installed in his arm, and it also may be that the ghost of Julio Jones may suddenly appear. All of that is a dream.
The Bucs must win this game, not because they need it, or life won’t exist after Sunday if they fail. They need to win this game because they are the superior team. They have a better offense, they have a better defense, and they have better special teams.
This is the start of something special for Tampa. But if it doesn’t start now, when will it start? Last year, it was the last eight games. There is no reason why this year it can’t start now. We have a weaker, well-known opponent. A quarterback who has never dropped a game to them in 14 tries, including a SuperBowl win. At this point in the season, Tampa needs to send their weaker opponents home with their heads hanging. It’s time to make that move.