There is one player the Tampa Bay Buccaneers should be focused on containing on Sunday if the Buccaneers hope to win the NFC South.
Let’s just call it straight, the NFC South stinks on ice. Still, the division winner gets to host a playoff game, and in the land of the blind the one-eyed man is king. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers can do just that if they take care of business (unlike last time) against the Carolina Panthers on New Year’s Day. Hopefully, 2023 means a new year and new Buccaneers, because the 2022 version is best left there.
With that said, there is one player on the Panthers that the Buccaneers should be worried most about if they want to win, and that is pass-rusher extraordinaire Brian Burns.
After the Panthers fired Matt Rhule and traded Christian McCaffrey and Robbie Anderson, many thought the tank was on, and that Burns would be next. However, Steve Wilks and company repeatedly reiterated that Burns was not for sale, and it’s easy to see why.
So far in 2022, Burns has 12.5 sacks and a forced fumble, to go along with 32 solo tackles. There is an excellent chance that he adds to that total, and by doing so, causing the Bucs to miss the playoffs if they aren’t careful.
The last time these two teams met, Burns sacked Tom Brady once while adding another hit on him for good measure. He also had five tackles (three solo) and two tackles for loss. As a pass-rusher, it’s safe to say those numbers mean he balled. The cherry on top here is, that was when the Buccaneers offensive line was relatively healthy, comparatively speaking of course.
Now, they are even more banged up on the line, and have suffered form inconsistent tackle play as of late. This is a recipe for disaster, and has all the makings of Burns feasting on said recipe.
Simply put, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have to focus primarily on Brian Burns. That is priority number one. They may not be able to stop him, but they can at the very least hope to contain him. If they do, then they will clinch the NFC South and by some divine miracle host a playoff game. One thing at a time though.