It is only the second game of this young 2009 NFL season but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills, their players, their coaches and their fans know that this just might be a "must win" for both squads and there are some strange similarities.
First, both teams perceive that this is a very "winnable" game. Neither team was rated as a preseason powerhouse. The Buccaneers were picked by most who do the picking to finish last in the NFC South behind New Orleans, Atlanta, and Carolina.
The Buccaneers DO NOT want to come back home 0-2, knowing that they face the New York Giants next week then hit the road against Washington and Philadelphia. It would be virtually asking for an 0-5 start for the Raheem Morris era.
Buffalo, likewise, lost the heartbreaker to New England on Monday, virtually gave it away, and wants to rebound for its disappointed fans. The Bills play hot-shot New Orleans next week then travel to Miami. They do not want to be 0-2 going into a game with the Drew Brees-led Saints offense.
Buffalo gave up huge passing yards to Tom Brady but shut down the Patriot running game.
Both quarterbacks, Byron Leftwich for the Bucs and Trent Edwards for the Bills, know there's opportunity.
"We have to stretch the field," said Buffalo's newest "celebrity" -- T.O.
Tampa's game plan is fairly simple, establish the run then pass the football.
Both of these teams are without key players.
Tampa lost safety Tanard Jackson to a four-game suspension, Buffalo lost running back Marshawn Lynch to the same.
Tampa lost the leader of its offensive line—center Jeff Faine—in the Dallas game. Buffalo lost its defensive signal caller—linebacker Paul Posluszny against New England.
Both teams remain upbeat despite their opening losses.
But the fact remains that both teams NEED this game.
Someone's going to be 0-2 after Sunday and that's not going to sit well in either city.