“Separation Sunday”

October 14th, 2018

Contender or pretender?

Joe likes the way Thomas Bassinger thinks.

The jet-flyin’, kiss–stealin‘, data-analyzin’, Bucs-film-studyin’, limousine-ridin’ scribe for the Tampa Bay Times has deemed today “Separation Sunday.”

Why is that? Because today is the day playoff contenders take a step away from the teams in a state of chafe that will be jostling for a draft position next spring. And that is the crossroads the Bucs come to this afternoon.

In short, Bassinger writes, good teams in Week 5 drop the hammer on schlock teams.

This is the week when we find out who teams really are. When good teams roll and bad teams crumble. When surprise teams emerge as true contenders or get exposed as frauds. When struggling teams, like the Bucs and Falcons, either right themselves or sputter into dumpster fire mode.

The 48-10 loss to Chicago two weeks ago didn’t torpedo Tampa Bay’s season; it just felt that way. I ran the numbers, and the Bucs, at 2-2, are very much alive. If the playoffs started today, they would qualify, thanks in part to wins over two quality opponents, the Saints and Eagles. But if Tampa Bay is to hold off Washington, Green Bay, Minnesota, Seattle, Dallas and Detroit, it needs to beat Atlanta. Teams get to the playoffs by handling their business against inferior opponents. At least that’s what happens in the NFC. Over in the AFC, they let anyone in, even the Titans and Bills.

Are the Bucs pretenders who should be monitoring the draft? Or should they be a good team in the NFC that tosses aside the chafed teams that should be worried about the draft?

The Bucs, despite a defense that is so bad someone needs to be jailed for extorting Team Glazer loot, already have a road win in the division. To go up 2-0 in the division before even playing a home division game would be huge.

Can the Bucs do it? Kickoff at 1 p.m.

*WATCH DERRICK BROOKS talk about studying “foundational tape,” approaching an elite Atlanta passing game, “stance, alignment assignment” and more with JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman in TAMPA TWO, presented by Caldeco Air Conditioning & Heating. Enjoy!!

6 Responses to ““Separation Sunday””

  1. Darin Says:

    It looks like Dirk does have a favorite cheerleader.

  2. D-Rome Says:

    Thomas is great, a real gem at the TBT. He’s absolutely right on this. The first six weeks of the season are like the first six miles of a marathon. In the first six miles there is inevitably a few guys that leads the race for a few miles to get people interested and talking about them. Everyone knows they won’t win but they get you wondering. As the rest of the race drags on they fall back, never to be heard from again.

    I fear that will be the story of the Bucs.

  3. WyomingBucsFan Says:

    If you think the Falcons aren’t capable of B slapping any team in this league then your football IQ is below average. This game is actually the toughest game yet this season. No team we have faced is as desperate as the Falcons are right now. The bucs will need there best play of the season to beat the Falcons today in there house.

  4. theodore Says:

    That quote about the AFC is true. Every year I get excited for Wildcard Weekend and every year I turn on the TV Saturday at 4 to find the Texans or some other team that sucks.

  5. stpetebucsfan Says:

    When all the sturm and drang over how tough our first four games were I pointed out that historically it’s always better to get the good teams out of the way early because good teams get better as the season progresses.

    That’s another way of agreeing with Bassenger. The good teams are going to begin getting really good and position themselves for the playoffs.

    Today’s game is critical as a measuring stick but also because it’s against a top division rival. If we beat Atlanta today they are in a world of deep dooty.

  6. Alanbucsfan Says:

    Wyomingbucsfan- you are right on.
    Bucs will need over 30 pts and will need to show some semblance of a running game.