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Tampa Bay Buccaneers: How Long Can the Team Roll Without Aqib Talib?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 16:   Aqib Talib #25 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers breaks up a pass intended for Hakeem Nicks #88 of the New York Giants in the first half on September 16, 2012 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images
Caleb AbnerContributor IIINovember 13, 2012

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are rolling.

They've scored 28 points in each of their last five games, a franchise record, and have won four of their last five. 

Once again, the team is rolling.

But how long will it last?

The main impediment to Bucs success is their pass defense. Giving up 321 yards through the air each game cannot help their surprisingly high postseason chances. Nor can being in the bottom half of the league in sacks do them much good.

Part of why Tampa fails so miserably in pass defense is because the team lacks good cornerbacks, especially after having traded troubled star Aqib Talib away to the Patriots.

No matter how much Mark Dominik wants to pay Eric Wright, he'll never be close to elite. But he's the best corner the Bucs have, so he gets the starting nod. 

Starting opposite the former Lion is E.J. Biggers, who gets beaten by mediocre wide receivers on a fairly consistent basis. 

Depth is provided by the likes of LeQuan Lewis, undrafted rookie Leonard Johnson, Myron Lewis and Danny Gorrer.

Should the Bucs be without Wright for even one game, the entire secondary could fall into disarray. Gone would be the playoff hopes.

Aqib Talib had his problems, sure, but he gave the Bucs a chance to win games. In the last four games without him, Tampa has given up an average 27 points, versus the 20.5 they had with him. It should be noted that the team only had one game (the shootout against the Giants) in which they allowed more than 22 points before the trade. Take out the outlier, the points per game goes down to 15. 

To sum that all up, the Bucs allowed far fewer points with Talib in the secondary than they have without him. 

When you look at the schedule for the rest of the season, you begin to realize how much the Bucs could use that defensive boost. They face Matt Ryan twice, Sam Bradford, Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Cam Newton. 

Only if the offense continues to produce these incredible numbers can the Bucs continue to win games. 

Once that production stops, the Bucs will start losing big.

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