WILL THE BUCS MAKE THE PLAYOFFS

Occasionally, our two sports scribes, Rob “Brooklyn”  Kriete and Leo “Low Ball” Haggerty, will engage in a little journalistic jousting.  They will take an issue with one of them taking a position while the other has the opposing side.

Here’s the first installment of our “Point/Counterpoint” columns.  We will title them “You Talkin’ To Me” in deference to the upbringing of our two verbal combatants.

“Brooklyn” is a New Yorker while “Low Ball” is a Philly guy.  With that being said, you know these two fellas will be extremely opinionated so enjoy.

Rob Kriete

Brooklyn, let’s deal with the facts.  That’s a novel thought, right?

First, the Bucs are 1-3 over the last four contests. This team is heading south faster than a Canadian in January.

Second, the pathetic National Football Conference East Division (or should I say the NFC Least) has to be represented.  Those four teams are so bad that if the Pewter Pirates were in the East they would be leading the division for three games.

Sadly, one of these teams will win the division by default.  That takes up one playoff spot.

Third, Tampa Bay has not been mathematically eliminated from winning the NFC South.  Realistically, that’s another matter entirely.

The 9-2 Saints are up 3 games in the loss column.  With New Orleans winning both contests with the Buccaneers this season, TB is really four games back because NO owns the first tiebreaker which is head-to-head meetings.

So, that eliminates the division champion mode of getting to playing January football.  The other division winners will take up four slots so that leaves only three more spots to be filled.

Finally, if you remember my good friend, I predicted the Bucs to go 10-6 in 2020.  The problem is that may not be good enough to get to the postseason and here’s why.

If the Vikings or the Bears run the table, they’ll be 10-6 with a victory over the Bucs.  Luckily for TB, because Minnesota plays Chicago, only one of these teams can go to the dance.

If we go west, the same scenario exists if the Rams finish 10-6 with a win over the Buccaneers.  That leaves one remaining spot to be filled and that could be filled by Arizona or San Francisco if either gets hot over the last five tilts.

There you have it.  The lack of playoff appearances continues for the Bucs.

Leo Haggerty

You talkin’ to me, Low Ball?

Despite being 1 – 3 over their last four games, the second half against the Chiefs will be the turning point of the season for Tampa Bay. The Bucs outscored Kansas City 17 – 7 in the second half and held the atomic offense to 10 total points in the final three quarters.

As for NFC Least, how can every team seemingly be rebuilding at the same in this division that most NFL fans usually think of as a powerhouse division? Someone has to make the playoffs to represent this mess, giving some lucky team the next best thing to a bye in the playoffs. Mark it.

Tampa Bay has four winnable games left with two against division-rival Atlanta. I believe the Bucs have a better chance to run the table than either the Vikings or the over-achieving Bears. Of course, the Bucs will have the chance to help themselves greatly with a win over Minnesota the week after this bye. Speaking of the Buccaneer bye-week, this team is exhausted and I expect them to be rested, focused, and ready to build off their game against Kansas City when they host the Vikings on December 13th.

Low Ball, you bringing Arizona and San Fran into this playoff picture is stretching it a bit, no? First, the 49ers at 5 – 6 are not a playoff team. Arizona at 6 -5 and a respectable +46 point differential could have a chance, but they too would need even more help than the Bucs.

I think the Bucs will produce three wins from their last four games to finish 10-6 and will make the playoffs. Sure, mathematically they could still miss a playoff berth even with 10 wins, but I have more faith in this team than I do in the others you argue. The defense, I believe, made a statement, albeit after the first quarter, against the Chiefs. The Tom Brady led offense has a lot of weapons. It is time to go back to basics there. Run the ball. Short passes everywhere. Occasional shots for the homerun. This is how the Buccaneers do it and make the playoffs ending the ridiculous drought.

And, yeah, I’m talkin to you, Low Ball.