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Consistency Is Tampa Bay’s Next Opponent

The Bucs proved they can play with anyone. Now they need to show they can compete on a regular basis.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Los Angeles Rams
Jameis Winston had arguably the best game of his career against the Rams.
Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Pancakes. Pringles. Poker chips. Firewood. Hay.

NFL wins.

It’s easy to stack all of the aforementioned items, except the latter. You have to be at the top of your game if you want to win the NFL, where the smallest percentages can make the difference between a win and a loss.

A lot of times, those percentages can swing in the favor of an underdog, a team that wasn’t supposed to win. The NFL world goes crazy for about a day or two, but eventually, those flashes fade and regress to the mean.

Good teams - the best teams - find not only a way to win, but a way to win consistently. At 2-2, the jury is still out on whether or not the Bucs are a good team. Road wins against the Panthers (2-2) and Rams (3-1) are great, but they’ve come after humiliating losses to the 49ers (3-0) and Giants (2-2) that saw the Bucs implode on both sides of the ball.

Tampa Bay is a small market, but I’m sure there are plenty of eyes looking at the western coast of the peninsula right now, wondering if this team is for real. Well, as luck would have it, the Bucs have another big matchup with one of the NFL’s better teams this week in the New Orleans Saints.

What better time than to show the league that this past Sunday wasn’t a fluke? What better chance to claim an undisputed, first-place lead in the division?

What better time to put together back-to-back, winning performances this season?

It’s going to be interesting to see how this game unfolds. The Saints are coming off two victories in which they were labeled underdogs - both at home and on the road - and the Bucs have yet to show that they can string together consecutive performances that enables them to win a game.

In fact, the Bucs have won consecutive games just six times over the last five seasons (2014-2018).

Bruce Arians was brought in to change this. He was brought in to win. So far, he’s done a pretty good job, but we all know “splash wins” like this don’t earn you Coach of the Year. He got his big win against the Rams, now it’s time to make winning big a common occurrence again.

And that starts this weekend.