Most NFL teams don't look forward to going on the road. The travel time, staying in a hotel, using different facilities, playing in front of a hostile crowd, it's not something most relish. Well, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers better get used to being away from the cozy confines of Raymond James Stadium as 3 of their next 4 games, and 5 of 7 are on the road. Not only are they on the road, but they have some tough teams to face. It starts this week with the undefeated, defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers who have made everyone look silly as they've managed their way to a 9-0 record.
The Bucs follow this game up with a roadie at Tennessee against a surprisingly spry Titans team and also have to face a dangerous, regardless of what their record says, Carolina team along with our nemesis the Atlanta Falcons, and of course, those patsies to the north, the Jaguars. No matter how the Bucs were playing, this was going to be the tough part of their schedule, and it doesn't help that we look like a steaming pile of hot garbage.
Now, for the semi-optimistic news. Take away the fact that we're playing the Packers and look at it from an objective point of view. We're facing a team who is 31st in yards allowed through the air. Sure, most of that is due to the fact they're up 30 points on every team they face, but they still give up yards. They also give up the 9th worst yards per carry. I don't honestly think we're gonna run the ball, that would just be silly, but opportunity is there.
When I look at the Bucs, I look at a team who has done poorly against run first teams. The Vikings in the first half killed us with the run. So did the 49ers, Bears, Saints (in the second game), and Texans. We haven't done well against the teams that keep it on the ground. Lucky (?) for us the Packers don't have a strong ground game. This makes me a feel a bit better as the teams we've done well against have been air based teams. The Vikings in the second half (even though they were up three scores), the Falcons before they went back to Turner, the Colts, and the Saints (first game). Now, I'm not predicting a Bucs blowout win by any means, but in my opinion, the Bucs have a better chance against pass first teams. It only takes one tipped pass, one sack fumble, one dropped pass to turn a game. And given our poor tackling, the less running backs we have barreling at our secondary, the better.
So as we kick off the road portion of our schedule, it's time to see how the Bucs react to a horrible loss. They turned things around after the 49ers loss and won (at home) against the Saints, but can the Bucs return from this past loss and shock the world against the Packers? We'll know Sunday by 4:30 PM.