Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

Week 4 Preview – Tampa Bay at Carolina

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It’s a divisional matchup this week when the Bucs head to Charlotte to face the Carolina Panthers. It’s also a top of the NFC South with both teams sporting a 2-1 record. The Bucs will be looking to build on the past two excellent defensive performances that saw them beat fancied opposition in the Saints and Rams. This game starts a tough 3 game stretch where the Bucs face the Panthers and Colts on the road and then return to the Ray Jay to face Vince Young and his Titans. Like last week this fixture looks tough on paper but if the Bucs can win a few key matchups then the game is theirs for the taking.

The Bucs face one of the premier DE’s in the league this weekend.


Injuries:
For the Bucs, there are some players that have been held out of practice as a precaution, Ike Hilliard (Ankle) Luke Petitgout (Vet Privilege), Joey Galloway (Vet Privilege), Patrick Chukwurah (Knee), Greg Spires (Ankle) and Brian Kelly (Groin). Of those Chukwurah is the most likely not to be playing on Sunday. On a related note Sabby Piscitelli was placed on IR after fracturing his foot in the game against the Rams. It’s a tough break for Piscitelli who was starting to make a real impression on special teams.

For the Panthers, 4 players didn’t practice, Jeremy Bridges (toe), Jake Delhomme (elbow), Dan Morgan (ankle) and Adam Seward (calf) and Mike Rucker and Travelle Wharton only had limited reps both due to toe injuries. Of those the worrying ones for the Panthers will be Delhomme and Dan Morgan, David Carr looks ready to step in for Delhomme and John Fox is delaying naming his QB until the last minute. Morgan is struggling with an ankle and James Anderson who deputised versus Atlanta will most likely step in although its possible that rookie Jon Beason may move inside to the mike spot.

Keys to the Game:

Bucs O-Line v Julius Peppers: Peppers has given the Bucs front five a pasting over the previous encounters. Stopping Peppers getting to Garcia and Cadillac in the backfield will be a tough job for Trueblood, Sears, Pettitgout and Joseph. Peppers is a physical freak of a man at 6’7 and nearly 290lb and Trueblood and Joseph will need to be on their game to stop Peppers tatooing his number 90 all over Jeff Garcia. Peppers has had a slow start to the season and is yet to notch a sack and I’d like to see that stat continued.

Bucs Run Game: In previous posts I may have been slightly critical of the output on the ground but I feel we need to get the wheels on the Cadillac spinning. I know that Cadillac has been struggling since week 1 with injured ribs but I’d like to see him get some confidence back and starting racking up the yards. If Dan Morgan doesn’t play the chance could be there for Cadillac.

Panthers Run Game: The Panthers have a bit of an RBBC going on with DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams splitting time in the backfield. If Carr does start at QB they will be expected to carry the load early on and establish the Panthers. Barrett Ruud has been excellent against the run in the last 2 games and fully expect him to be all over the Panthers runners. Foster racked up 122 yards against the Falcons and will be looking to repeat, however it appears that the Panthers if they get behind will abandon the run game fairly quickly as he was limited to 9 carries in the game against the Texans.

Panthers QB: Is it Jake or is it David. No one knows and its likely to be a game time decision. Carr has been getting reps in practice and looks at the moment to be the favourite. If Carr does play it will help the Bucs as the Delhomme – Smith link is very strong and Carr may not have developed that chemistry with Smith

Steve Smith: The Panthers are spreading the ball around but there is no doubting who is the #1 WR. The Bucs have to be all over Smith and I feel with Tanard Jackson at S, he will be able to provide extra coverage over the top to the CB’s.

Prediction:

Last week I predicted a Bucs win by 7 and got the win but not the margin. This week I think its even closer. Both teams come off good wins but I feel that the Bucs line will be able to protect better this year and provide some time for Garcia to make some plays.

Bucs by 3

NFL Predictions:
HOU@ATL – Houston have looked good early season but have been hit by injuries on the offence. PICK:- ATL
BAL@CLE – Jamal Lewis goes back to his old stomping ground. The Ravens defence should be too much for the Browns. PICK:- BAL
OAK@MIA – Miami still can’t figure out how they lost to the Jets but need to rebound fast and can see them doing it against the Raiders. PICK:-MIA
CHI@DET – Certainly won’t be a shootout like the last game for the Lions. With Greise at the helm the Bears offence should be better. PICK:-CHI NYJ@BUF – How many more injuries can the Bills take ? They are too beat up to give a challenge to the Jets. PICK:-NYJ
GB@MIN – The Pack are on a roll, but can the Vikings defence keep it close to let their offence snatch a win ? PICK:-GB
STL@DAL – The Cowboys offence should have too much, and can Leonard step up for the Rams ? PICK:-DAL
SEA@SF – SF got beat up in Pittsburgh and will be looking to rebound. Tough call but home advantage sneaks it for the 49ers PICK:-SF
TB@CAR – Homer alert Homer alert. PICK:-TB
KC@SD – San Diego need to kick start their season and will be smarting after the loss at Lambeau PICK:-SD
DEN@IND – Can Bly and Bailey nullify Wayne and Harrison ? Can Cutler compete in a shootout with Manning ? PICK:-IND
PIT@ARI – Whose under centre next for the Cards ? Despite the offensive tools the Steelers D will be too much. PICK:-PIT
PHI@NYG – McNabb did his talking on the field last week and a poor Giants secondary could lead to another big day. PICK:-PHI

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Written by UK Bucs Fan

September 28, 2007 at 11:30 am

One Response

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  1. Last year when Jake went down, Steve Smith vanished. He must play for Carolina to have a chance. The Bucs are much improved over last year.
    The Sultan on Sports

    http://www.tsos20.wordpress.com

    tsos20

    September 30, 2007 at 4:38 am


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