THE OPTIMIST: Be Sure The Bucs Can Win Sunday

December 31st, 2010

You’ve all read THE PESSIMIST, who spews his Bucs-related anger like no other. But Joe also wants you to know THE OPTIMIST

THE OPTIMIST is Nick Houllis, a Bucs fan and an accomplished writer whose steadfast allegiance to the team goes back to the 1970s. Houllis is the founder, creator and guru of, a place Joe goes to get lost in time via Houllis’ stunning video collection.

THE OPTIMIST will shine that positive light in your eyes. Some will love it. Some won’t.

The NY Giants are folding about as bad as the 2008 Bucs, and now that Atlanta lost, Chicago should be fighting for that bye week. I don’t know if those teams can win or not Sunday. But I do know one thing; The Bucs can beat the Saints.

Now of course you’d expect nothing less of me, but I was always taught you could have any opinion in the world if you can back it up; so here is why:

1) The Bucs have beaten the Saints in New Orleans two of the last three years and five of the last seven. In 2006, the Saints had a very powerful offense with new quarterback Drew Brees, yet the Bucs only lost 24-21 behind the arm of Bruce Gradkowski. The next year Brees was having another solid season, yet the Bucs won behind the throwing of Luke McCown. Then last year, even though the Saints lost their first game of the season to the Cowboys the week before, they came into the Bucs game needing to win to keep home field advantage alive. They got beat by a 2-12 Bucs team with rookie QB Josh Freeman.

2) The Bucs match up well against the Saints. Take away the game in Tampa a few months ago; most of the Bucs wins in New Orleans were countered with blowout losses to the Saints at home. Last year Josh Freeman was 21-of-31 for 271 yards and two interceptions. This season, Freeman is a very different QB than the one Tony Siragusa told “Enjoy the win Rookie” at the end of last season. Freeman studied with Brees in the offseason, and shows the maturity of a fourth or fifth-year quarterback.more. The biggest difference, though, is the Bucs rushing attack that was the difference in the upset last year. In 2010, the Bucs are going to bring the leagues seventh-ranked rushing offense averaging 128 yards per game behind rookie phenom LeGarret Blount

3) The Saints havn’t impressed anyone with their 11-4 record; they lost to the Browns and Cardinals, both teams the Bucs beat this year. They started off the season beating the Vikings by a mere five points, and then beat the 49ers by an equally unimpressive three points. After losing to Atlanta, the Saints beat Carolina by two points. The Saints peaked around the middle of the season, but have snuck by Dallas by three, then beating the Bengals by a whopping four points. You know that Drew Brees is going to have a good day, but last year he tossed for an incredible 87% (32-of-37) yet still lost the game.

Oddsmakers have the Saints favored to win the game, but Tampa Bay has been having great success replacing injured players with young, hungry newcomers who struggle when they are first put it, but after a few games to settle down, play at a high level. A lot like what happened against the Seahawks on the defensive side of the ball.

Are the Bucs going to be tested? Sure. To be certain the Saints are a dangerous and powerful team trying to defend their title as Super Bowl champions. But the Bucs have won games like this before with far less talent on offense, and after their first loss to a team with a losing record two weeks ago, are looking to get their first win against a team with a winning mark.

And with playoffs on the line, it would make their season; kind of like their win in New Orleans did last year.

16 Responses to “THE OPTIMIST: Be Sure The Bucs Can Win Sunday”

  1. bucfanjeff Says:

    Completely agree.

  2. tampa2 Says:

    Right! And the cow jumped over the moon! This guy has a very selective memory about last year too. The Saints weren’t fighting for anything. They had already locked up their spot and were cruising through the game with the Bucs. This year the Saints really need this win to try and lock up the south division. (providing Atlanta loses) So there will not be any “cruising” and the Saints will be full throttle the entire game! Optimism in this game is getting beat by 4 points instead of 24. Which is very likely with Raheem’s defense.

  3. jesse j Says:

    USA TODAY did a nice peice on the bucs yesterday.

  4. McBuc Says:

    T2…You are wrong. Once the Bucs won the game NO needed help to clench, they got the help they needed, after the Bucs game. If they would have beat Tampa they would not have needed help. They had players out with imjuries, but did not sit healthy players. I see you are still a nonfan though, so you are consistant…or bull headed.

  5. McBuc Says:

    Today is my 40th birthday, so I sure hope the Bucs give me the gift I want.

  6. jvato24 Says:

    “The NY Giants are folding about as bad as the 2008 Bucs, and now that Atlanta lost, Chicago should be fighting for that bye week”

    This really sounds great in theory, but the Bears have clinched a bye week due to the Eagles loss on Tuesday. The Falcons play at 1PM and if they win the Bears will play at 4PM and be locked into the #2 seed and have nothing to gain or lose.

    So I wouldnt get to optimistic about a Bears team that may have nothing to play for in Green Bay against a team like the Packers with everything to play for.

    Anything can happen, but I am not counting on it and would be thrilled if it did.

  7. McBuc Says:

    Jvato, you make a great point, but you are also talking about very old devision rivals.

  8. McBuc Says:

    I would also think Smith learned about sitting players and holding back at the end of the season from his time hear in Tampa. I think he will go for the win for sure.

  9. jvato24 Says:

    McBuc .. I hope so .. I know anything is possible .. I just cant get excited for the playoffs when we have to depend on other teams ..

    But no doubt if the Bucs pull out a win on SUnday at 1 .. I will have my eyes on those 2 games !!

  10. McBuc Says:

    Jvato…I agree 100%.

  11. BamBamBuc Says:

    Tampa2 – This is in the write up on about the Bucs/Saints game from last year:

    The Bucs’ win kept the Saints from clinching the NFC’s No. 1 seed. They will do so if the Vikings lose to the Bears on Monday night.

    So, the Saints did have something to play for. They were fighting Minnesota for the #1 overall seed. The loss to us prevented them from clinching that spot, but Minnesota lost and the Saints were #1 seed anyway. They did have a reason to play that game and win. They may have less of a reason to play to win this year.

    They’re pretty much guaranteed the #5 seed and a game against the NFC West. Teams are more likely to rest players when they have to play the Wild Card week of the playoffs, as they have an extra game to play to make it to the show. The Saints will likely have an eye on the scoreboard to see what Atlanta’s doing and if it’s a blowout will pull the starters. No need to risk injury to players when you can’t improve your status.

    The playoffs for the Bucs are unlikely, but not out of the question.

  12. big papa power Says:

    I’d like to see them win but either way I’m satisfied with what the Bucs accomplished this season. With the right moves during the off-season they could be legit contenders next year.

  13. jvato24 Says:

    Theres no Doubt that the Saints played that game to win .. I rewatched it over the Summer and if you watch the 4th quarter and OT when we just kept running the ball on them you could see the look on their faces how bad they wanted to win and didnt know how to stop us.

  14. New Era Buc Says:

    In sound FX. Its shows Payton demanding Williams to pull out all the stops to keep the Bucs from scoring in overtime. But hey, keep on hating moron

  15. d-money Says:

    When the Bears and Packers play there is always something to play for. No chance in hell the Bears don’t give it all they have to try and beat the Packers.
    This is one of the oldest rivalries in the NFL. Lovie Smith has already stated he won’t be resting anyone.

    THe Redskins/Giants game on the other hand will probably be a race to see who can get to the showers first.

  16. simeon Says:

    Odds makers have Chicago getting 11 points. If this was week 16 they may be favored. Nobody is betting Chicago plays their starters. Except us, more hoping instead of betting.