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The Great Debate: Can We Beat the Invincible Tampa Bay Buccaneers?

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Snelling's right leg wasn't feeling too well that day, so he decided to use a Bengal instead.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Snelling's right leg wasn't feeling too well that day, so he decided to use a Bengal instead. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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In this series of posts, I seek to find the answer to questions that are brought up around here or around the various sports conversation sites. I use a realistic, low-stat opinion to generate discussion about these topics, but I also encourage the use of stats in an argument.

 

Today, I come to you all with a heavy heart. This week, we face the invincible Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whom we have little hope of defeating. That is, unless they grant us their blessing, with which we will then have to sacrifice an odd, light blue cat along with something called a "Fleur De Lys".

 

We have almost no chance of victory. The only cat we had a chance at sacrificing is the last cat at the bottom of the barrel, and the great Buccaneers surely will not accept such a measurement of inadequacy. The Fleur De Lys has also been tainted by something called a "Brown". We truly are not worthy to even be playing them, let alone have a chance of defeating them.

 

For a time, I thought there was no hope for us, until I encountered a dream of peculiar note. A majestic bird flew throughout the sky, and behind it was a trail of smoke. "Courage and Fight", the smoke read. The bird flew with pride and power over a boat whose flag was red. When I awoke, I felt that maybe this bird was a symbol for something in my future that I had not yet seen.

 

I had felt that the presence of that bird...that falcon, perhaps, would be the undoing of that large boat. My dream did not grace me with an ending to the story.

 

But seriously, we're playing the NFC's "best team" on Sunday. Are they all bark and no bite, or could they seriously beat us at home? Let's talk about it after the jump!

I'm sure a few of you thought I had either lost my mind or my fanhood, but that's alright. The former gets called into question plenty, but the latter, nope.

 

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are, for what it's worth, a reincarnation of the 2008 Atlanta Falcons. So far, they have been a pleasant surprise, but what hasn't been a surprise is what has been leading them to success.

 

No, I'm not talking about "Comeback Kid" Josh Freeman, I'm talking about their real assets.

 

Seriously folks, they're riding players nicknamed "Blount" and "Cadillac". What more do you need, honestly?

 

All kidding aside, the Bucs have done a respectable job with what they have this year. If you all can remember, we had a lot of good things going for us back in 2008, namely an incredibly easy schedule and more talent than we realized we had at the time. However, we were also put in our place several times.

 

The Bucs, as good as they think they are, have been floored by two good teams, namely the wounded Saints and the angry Steelers.

 

Plus, their coach had to go out and say something he shouldn't have said. Who in their right mind says something that every team is going to hang on their bulletin board for the rest of the season? And with a division rivalry (and NFCS top dog) game coming up? Whaaaaat?!?

 

You can call it an attempt to motivate his players, but Raheem Morris may have done more harm than good to his team by publicly saying "We're the best."

 

The beauty of this situation is that our Falcons, who share a tie for the NFC's best record, are suddenly flying back under the radar again. All this attention that we could be getting has been diverted back to the Bucs, and the Falcons have intelligently kept their mouths closed the entire time.

 

That's because I honestly think we're preparing to take them to the woodshed.

 

Call it what you want, but Matt Ryan is a homebody. He's so much of a homebody, in fact, that if we could get home field advantage throughout the playoffs, I'm pretty sure we could get to the Super Bowl. And if we were to face an open air team like the Steelers in the JerryDome....well, you must see where I'm going with that.

 

Unfortunately, the season is still young. We have plenty of time to still screw this up, but so does everyone else. We were exposed a little bit by some of the weaker teams, but our patchwork defense has done just enough to get us by, and our sputtering offense has done just enough to get us by.

 

But when will "just enough" turn into "not enough"?

 

I have a feeling the answer to that could be Sunday. We have every bit of motivation to put them in their place, but the Bucs are a scrappy team that either doesn't show up (Steelers, Saints) or is never out of it.

 

If we want to establish ourselves as one of the top NFC teams, we have to start by building up some huge momentum on Sunday. The Thursday Ravens game is looming large, and it's a short turnaround. However, a positive in that is that we don't have to travel anywhere, but the Ravens do. As much as I hate Thursday games, that's at least one positive note.

 

In essence, we have to crush the Bucs. We have to defeat them so soundly that it ruins their season. We have to play them again in their house, and the Saints are sure to give us a heck of a rematch. Honestly, I was hoping that the Bucs would roll over once they got off their surprise horses, but that hasn't happened yet.

 

The outcome of this game could very well determine the outcome of Thursday's game, and that's somewhat scary. Matty Ice is good at home, but my silly pessimism wants to kick in and say, "...but he's lost there before." Yeah, ONE WHOLE TIME. Shut up, me.

 

The Bucs have played to their plan much like we have played to ours. The Bucs are young, have some really good talent (Freeman, Wallace, Talib), and are playing with confidence. Freeman has shown he's made of frozen steel, but how he will respond to a playoff-type atmosphere remains to be seen. You would think that all those 4th quarter comebacks/drives would indicate that he's ready for the big time, but playoff atmospheres last for four quarters. It's a whole different ball game in the playoffs.

 

No doubt Raheem's quotes have inspired confidence in his team, but were they really a good idea? All the Falcons have kept quiet, but I can guarantee they wake up looking at those quotes every day. I have a feeling it's going to bite Raheem in the behind on this one.

 

There are few things scarier than a motivated man, and I think Raheem may have motivated a few hundred men and not just his own team. We're fresh off of our bye week, and I can't say I've seen bulletin board material like this in a long time.

 

I'm scared to make such a bold prediction, because part of me thinks something stupid could happen (see 49ers game), but I think we come out with guns blazing and put it right to the Bucs from the first whistle to the last whistle.

 

What do you all think? Will we be able to defeat the "invincible" Buccaneers? Or will we end up as cooked falcon for the flying pirates? Will the distraction of facing a top AFC team on Thursday cause us to play flat? And Bonus Question: Would tanking the game on Sunday to win on Thursday be alright with you? I look forward to discussing all of this with you all!