Buccaneers Need This Atlanta Game to Earn Respect

Tom EdringtonSenior Writer INovember 20, 2012

Even Greg Schiano got excited last Sunday. (photo courtesy Buccaneers.com)
Even Greg Schiano got excited last Sunday. (photo courtesy Buccaneers.com)

So you say you're really excited about these 6-4 Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

You say they're the real deal, they're good, they're solid, they're tough.

I can hear Lee Corso over in the corner with one of those "Not so fast my friends..."

Let's think about this for a moment, really, seriously. Yes, this is a team you can wrap your arms around and why not? You've got the incredible rookies. Yeah, Doug Martin and Lavonte David have given a lot of juice to their respective units.

Josh Freeman is born again.

Vincent Jackson is an absolute stud, etc., etc., etc.

There's only one problem thus far.

The Buccaneers have beaten the one-win Kansas City Chiefs, they've twice beaten the two-win Carolina Panthers, they downed the three-win Oakland Raiders and the four-win San Diego Chargers

Wow, five of the six wins have come from teams with 10 combined wins.


The only team with a winning record that fell to the Pewter Pirates is the 6-4 Minnesota Vikings. So call that a "quality" win.

The rest? Sure, Greg Schiano will tell you there are no easy wins in the NFL, though Kansas City fans may beg to differ. Those Chiefs are total stiffs and contending for the No. 1 overall pick next April.


The rest? Harrumph.

Enter The Dragon, or more accurately, the Dirty Birds from Atlanta. Yeah, THOSE Dirty Birds, those dastardly, 9-1 Falcons

Now it's getting serious. 

Here's the deal. The Bucaroos of ours can really get the rest of the NFL to sit up and take some serious notice if they can pull this one off on Sunday at Raymond James Stadium.

And it's certainly within reach.

The Falcons haven't exactly beaten up on the cream of the crop in the NFL. Quality wins? Guess you have to give them the nod with victories over the Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys, although you have to wonder if the Cowboys are anything more than an average NFL team.

The rest of Atlanta's wins have come against Kansas City, San Diego, Carolina, the Washington Redskins, Oakland and the self-imploding Philadelphia Eagles.

Nine wins in 10 games is still very impressive, unless you've played the Kansas City Chiefs in eight of the nine.

What the Bucs need to happen on Sunday is a repeat of what happened to the Falcons last week in their own house. Ryan threw not one, two or three picks—he threw FIVE. Here's the prediction right now: if Ryan throws three picks against the Bucs, Tampa wins this one.

What the Bucs still have to overcome in this one is the propensity to give up big passing plays. It's the recurring theme with this defense. Yes, the defense can and will make big plays but they also can and will give up the big ones.

Big plays? Atlanta has big playmakers in Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez. 

Sure, the Bucs can win. 

They'll simply need to play their best and most complete game of the season.

That would get them some respect—a lot of respect, really.

Not to mention a foot in the playoff door.


Can Michael Bennett get 14 sacks? OneBucSite.com.