Tampa BayWatch – My Thoughts on the Bucs

Playoff Preview: Giants at Bucs

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Like most fans, if at the start of the season you would have said that the Bucs would be Division champions and facing the Giants in the playoffs, I’d have told you to put the Kool Aid away. However, the Bucs have been solid this season and wrapped up the division 2 weeks ago and now face a playoff game against the Giants. It’s certainly going to be one of the toughest matchups of the season but a trip to the #1 ranked Dallas Cowboys awaits the winners. Can the Bucs magical mystery tour continue ?

Can Earnest Graham run the Bucs to the NFC Championship Game ?

Injuries:

For the Bucs 2 key starters are named on the Injury Report. LB Cato June is listed as doubtful due to a foot injury and Arron Sears is questionable with an ankle problem. Of the 2 Sears is more likely to start and I expect June to be a game time call. If June can’t go then Ryan Nece is likely to step in.

For the Giants 2 starters are named as doubtful and 1 as questionable. CB Sam Madison and C Shaun O’Hara have stomach and knee injuries respectively. LB Kawika Mitchell is listed as questionable and was limited in practice with a knee injury. The Giants will certainly need O’Hara and Madison fit. Madison is likely to line up against Bucs speedster Joey Galloway and will need to be at 100% to be able to track Joey. O’Hara ties the Giants line together and will be missed if he can’t start.

Keys to the Game:

Giant’s Run Game vs Bucs Front 7 – Brandon Jacobs can best be described as a load coming out of the backfield. At 6’4 and 264 Jacobs is a difficult man to stop. The Bucs front 7 is built around speed and could get worn down by the running of Jacobs and Reuben Droughns. I’m wondering if Jeremiah Trotter could see some action as he’s a pure run stopping MLB and could add some much needed bulk in short yardage situations.

Giants D-Line vs Bucs O-Line – Donald Penn and Jeremy Trueblood are going to be in for a tough day against a Giants front 4 lead by Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. Trueblood certainly has the size to dominate Strahan, but the veteran will use all his nous to try and track down Jeff Garcia. The guys that win this battle could end up on the winning team.

Joey Galloway vs Giants Secondary – Even in the twilight of his career Joey is still one of the fastest recievers in the NFL. Sam Madison picked up and injury last weekend and I expect Garcia to take a few shots downfield.

Prediction:

I’ve written off the Bucs too many times this season and they have surprised me time and again. However i truely believe that this game will come down to a few key plays. The Bucs are at home and should have their key starters at 100% and this could just give them the edge.

Bucs by 7.

Wilcard Predictions:

Seattle v Washington – Seattle are on a roll and should have too much at home for the Skins.

Jacksonville v Pittsburgh – Another game that’s too close to call. I just fancy the Jaguars in this one

Chargers v Titans – VY is listed as a gametime decision and the Chargers D should be able to shutdown the Titans

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