Power Rankings Week 16

December 20th, 2008

Joe takes his weekly look at what some of the national football scribes have to say about the Bucs as Tampa Bay prepares for its Week 16 home game with San Diego.

Jason McIntyre of TheBigLead.com is more impressed with the site of the Super Bowl than the team that plays in the same stadium. He has the Bucs at No. 16.

Anyone looking for a Super Bowl party stripper should contact this woman.

(Joe’s disclaimer: No, to the best of Joe’s knowledge, Evan Longoria’s girlfriend is not for rent.)

Peter King of SI.com has the Bucs at No. 12 and seems to be concerned with the Pewter Pirates.

Not time to bury the Bucs, but you’ve got to be extremely worried about their ability to stop the run if they make the playoffs. Last two games versus the run: 37 carries for 299 yards for Carolina, 43 carries for 175 yards Sunday in Atlanta. The Bucs have the proverbial must win coming up Sunday at home against San Diego, and they’d better wear their big-boy pads for that one because the Chargers will come in rushing.

Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com has the Bucs at No. 10.

Two consecutive division losses have them in playoff-elimination mode the rest of the way. They can’t afford another. The good news is they close with home games against San Diego and Oakland.

Vacation Man of BSPN.com also has the Bucs at No. 10.

The Bucs remain very much in the playoff race with home games against the Chargers and Raiders. But those games can’t be taken for granted, with injuries piling up and the Bucs on a two-game losing streak.

Adrian Hasenmayer of FoxSports.com lists the Bucs at No. 9.

How has Tampa Bay gone from 9-3 and first place in the NFC South to 9-5 and fighting for its playoff life so quickly? Untimely injuries are creeping up, like the calf injury that forced QB Jeff Garcia to miss Sunday’s loss at Atlanta. The defense is hurting, too — both health-wise (LB Derrick Brooks’ rib injury might force him to miss his first career game, Jermaine Phillips’ broken forearm – out for the year). Luckily, the Bucs come home to finish the season, where they are 6-0 in ’08. COOL STAT: Tampa’s normally-stout defense has allowed an obscene 474 rushing yards over the past two losses.

Former Bucs beat writer and current SI.com columnist Don Banks, who has grabbed the torch for the fallen Dr. Z, ranks the Bucs at No. 10.

December wasn’t too kind to Jon Gruden’s team last year either, with Tampa Bay dropping three of its last four to limp into the playoffs with zero momentum. Now the Bucs of ’08 are 0-2 this month, with consecutive road losses in the division. But that’s where finishing with a pair of games at home against AFC West teams (San Diego and Oakland) should come in very handy.

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