Being an underdog has become a core part of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers identity this season, and it's shining through ahead of Sunday's showdown in Motown.
Picked to be among the worst teams in the league, the Bucs are still alive and among the final four NFC teams left standing. Almost nobody thought they'd win more than a handful of games, let alone be within two victories of returning to the Super Bowl.
It's hard to fathom how un-Buccaneers-like this season has been. We watched the team fall into old bad habits that nearly sunk the season during a 1-6 midseason slump, but unlike before the team picked itself up off the mat. Baker Mayfield let the charge of wiping the blood off the team's lip while Todd Bowles fought through the most intense hot seat rumors he's been subjected to with the end result being a third-straight NFC South championship and a fourth consecutive trip to the playoffs.
All of that happened without Tom Brady and with a massive salary cap bill to pay. Needless to say, it has everyone around the Bucs hyped and the team is leaning all of the way into that ahead of Sunday's game.
Buccaneers post insane hype video for NFC Divisional Round game
The Bucs decided to start everyone's day off right, posting a hype video ahead of the NFC Divisional Round showdown in Motown that features Rondé Barber giving a speech that will make you want to run through a wall.
Let's absolutely go.
It seems the experts are back to counting the Bucs out, as Tampa Bay isn't being given much of a shot to win on Sunday. That's a huge disservice to the job everyone did to pull the team out of that losing slump, but it also overlooks how different this version of the Bucs is compared to the one Detroit saw back in Week 6.
Baker Mayfield is having a career year, and is in the middle of one of his hottest stretches. Dave Canales has seemingly found out his play calling groove and has the Bucs offense humming in ways we always thought it could but frustratingly never saw.
Tampa Bay's defense gave up 20 points to the Lions back in October but is on a totally different level now. The Bucs have allowed an average of 11 points over the last four games, shutting out the Panthers in Week 18 and holding the Eagles to just nine points in the Wild Card. Antoine Winfield Jr is playing the best football of his career and rookies like Calijah Kancey and Yaya Diaby are stepping up in big ways to support the excellent play of veterans like Lavonte David and Vita Vea.
It's an eclectic mix of young stars and savvy vets who know what it takes to go on a Super Bowl run, all infused with a gritty energy that stems from Baker's leadership. The Bucs are playing with house money which might make them the most dangerous team left standing in the playoffs.