Game of the Week: Bucs vs. Titans
This isn't the game of the week.
Everyone in his right mind knows that Patriots-Cowboys is the be-all, end-all of Week Six...but picking that battle of unbeatens as the best game this Sunday is too easy.
Besides, as a diehard Patriots fan, I already know the Pats are going to win. Here’s why:
1. Tom Brady still plays for New England.
2. Every time the Patriots win, God smiles and a baby is born.
3. New England only loses big games to the Colts nowadays.
The Cowboys stand no chance.
There are several other games across the NFL that offer a lot of intrigue. Packers-Redskins will be fun to watch, Jaguars-Texans is an important divisional matchup, and Seahawks-Saints has some great storylines.
However, while all eyes will be in Dallas for a possible Super Bowl preview, another title-game teaser will be taking place in Tampa.
As strange as it sounds, the Titans and Bucs are playing some of the best football in their respective conferences.
Tampa Bay is the class of the classless NFC South, and Tennessee is winning games like nobody’s business (not even their own). Coming into the season, these two teams weren't given much of a chance to succeed, but five weeks in, they look like potential contenders.
Sunday’s matchup, then, should be a good one.
Jeff Fisher is one of the best coaches in football, and has worked wonders with a team built on inexperience and few big names. Jon Gruden was a coaching genius until recent years, but his performance with an old, injured roster has been stellar.
Both Fisher and Gruden could be considered for Coach of the Year to this point in the season, and the play of their teams is a great reflection on their coaching abilities.
Gruden in particular will have his work cut out for him on Sunday. The Buccaneers, much to my Fantasy team’s chagrin, have been snakebitten at running back, and their offense is threatening to turn woefully one-dimensional.
What's more, Tennessee has a solid run defense with the resurrected Albert Haynesworth leading the way.
Tampa QB Jeff Garcia has played well, but he's pretty much all the Bucs have going for them right now. If he can pick apart the Titans secondary, Tampa Bay will be in good shape. If he can’t, the Bucs will look like a Big Ten team.
Tennessee has the upper hand across the board. They're better than the Bucs at most key positions, and their play of late has proven that they could turn this game into a rout.
Considering that the Colts beat the Bucs by 19 points last week without several key starters...and that the full Indy team struggled to top the Titans...Tampa and Tennessee might be farther apart than I would make it seem.
Thankfully, there's the great equalizer: turnovers.
Should Atlanta have been able to hang with the Titans?
But the Falcons were a Byron Leftwich good decision away from stealing a win from Tennessee last week, courtesy of a turnover firesale from Vince Young.
The Buccaneers are good at forcing turnovers, so they could take advantage of some Titan mistakes. They’ll need to if they want to have a shot this Sunday.
Otherwise, this Super Bowl preview could just be another AFC romp.
Titans 18, Bucs 14
For more picks, visit www.kevanlee.com.
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