Before I dive into the Buccaneers, I hope everyone is having a great Thanksgiving. Hang in there – we can’t get back to normal soon enough.
I am thankful for my health, my family and the Bucs being in the playoff hunt this time of year. And while Tampa Bay has lost 2 of its last 3, and some fans are ready to throw Tom Brady and Bruce Arians under the bus, let’s pause for a moment. When was the last time the Buccaneers were in serious playoff contention on Thanksgiving Day?
The Bucs are 7-4, heading into Sunday’s game against the Super Bowl champion Chiefs. After that, they have their bye. Then, their last four games are against teams with losing records: Minnesota, Detroit and Atlanta twice. If they can get their act together, they can finish 10-6 or 11-5 and break a 13-year playoff drought.
But the key phrase here is “get their act together.” The offensive line desperately needs Ali Marpet back. A.Q. Shipley – who was inserted to the line due to injuries – may have a career-ending one himself. The running backs need to catch the ball when Brady throws it their way. Brady needs to stop throwing deep balls that land right in the arms of a defender. The secondary needs to stop playing 8-10 yards off the opposing receivers. The defensive line needs to stop jumping offside and giving the other team a free first down. Finally – and this can account for some of my previous points – the coaching needs to improve. If you’ve watched any of the past two losses, you know what I mean.
Obviously, Sunday’s game against Kansas City is the toughest test yet. But Bucs fans should at least be thankful that we’re at the very least talking about a possible playoff berth as we near the end of November.
Photo courtesy: USA Today