Gameday Tampa Bay Week 14

December 8th, 2008

Bucs (9-3) at Panthers (9-3)
Week 14
Kickoff: 8:30 p.m.
Radio: Buccaneers Radio Network (in Tampa WFUS-FM, 103.5 and WDAE-AM, 620); Sirius Channel 127.
Weather: Per, it’s going to be chilly with a kickoff temperature of 36 degrees under partly cloudy skies. Expect the temperature to dip slightly through the game.
Odds: Per, Panthers -3.
Outlook: Prior to Sunday, the New York Giants were the class of the NFL much less the NFC. Things change quickly in the NFL.

With running back Brandon Jacobs suffering a knee injury and Plaxico Burress out for the season for being a mental midget, the Giants now appear vulnerable after losing to the Eagles on Sunday. With a win the Bucs would be a game behind the Giants with three games to play with a shot at possibly having the home field advantage throughout the playoffs, which would be critically important.

Also, with a win, the Bucs would all but lock up the NFC South; They would have a two-game lead (including tiebreaker edge) over Carolina with three games to play. Also, they’d be up two games on Atlanta (8-5) and not need to beat the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday. Imagine that, a division game in mid-December that would not be a must-win.

But first thing is first: Beat the stinking Panthers.

In short, the Bucs’ defense has to be its usual suffocating self. Key will be shutting down DeAngelo Williams who has gone crazy lately. In his last five games he has nine rushing touchdowns and is tied with the league lead with 13. Williams ran wild last week against the Packers but you don’t have to be an analyst with to figure out the Packers’ defense smells worse than moldy cheese.

The Bucs usual struggles of playing when the temperature is below 40 will again be tested. In this matchup the Bucs running game will be challenged without Earnest Graham. However, Graham played fullback against Carolina when the Bucs crushed the Panthers 27-3 on Oct. 12. On that day, Graham had just five carries for 11 yards, and Warrick Dunn carried the load with 22 carries for 115 yards. But as analyst Steve Campbell mentioned, Warrick Dunn can not be relied on that heavily again, and Cadillac Williams needs to have 20+ touches and a productive game for the Bucs to be successful.

A loss could be damaging. So a win for a playoff home game (or two) is needed tonight.

One Response to “Gameday Tampa Bay Week 14”

  1. Chris Says:

    The one of the left for sure. I wouldn’t kick the one on the right outta bed though. Mix in both minus the bathroom stall then count me in. 🙂