The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are like a cheating girlfriend and I’m the idiot that continually takes her back. I guess I’m naïve enough to think she’s going to change.

Another last second loss, another year off my life. As a life long Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan I’m convinced that this team has caused me so much undue stress that it has taken years off of my life. Lets not talk about the need to drink I feel after watching this team play. If you are anything like me, you are a glutton for punishment and keep coming back for more. If I was a halfway intelligent person I would have walked away years ago, but I just can’t bring myself to do it. This past week’s debacle was even more painful than usual.

Did we just witness the franchise being set back another five years?

Jameis played bad and deserved to be benched. That may sound like a very straightforward statement, but the situation really is that simple. It appears that Winston no longer gives the team the best chance to win. The most frustrating part? We all know that Fitz isn’t the answer either. It looks like an era is ending and that’s a tough pill to swallow. Say what you will about the performance of Jameis against the Bengals, but it can’t be argued that he is the best quarterback that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have ever had. My friends and I having a running joke the Buccaneers sold their soul to the devil to win the super bowl in ’02 and it looks like Lucifer cashed that check again Sunday afternoon.

Why do we continue to be fans of a team the breaks our heart more often than not?

If you are anything like me, it’s because as bad as the team may be we put on our rose colored glasses week in and week out and believe this team will beat its upcoming opponent. I can’t tell you the last time I though the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were going to lose a game. On any given Sunday I can give you a list of no less than five reasons why I think the Bucs will win. Losing never crosses my mind or yours most likely. We expect to win week in and week out even though we know better. This week is no different.

Cincinnati was a disaster but as usual I expect the Bucs to win this week.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers travel to Charlotte this week and face a good Carolina Panthers team. As porous as the secondary of the Buccaneers has been, the receiving corp of the Panthers does not scare me. The Buccaneers defense has to be concerned with only two offensive weapons of the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton and Christian McCaffrey.
McCaffrey is a dynamic back. Averaging 4.6 yard per carry and catching and average of six passes a game, McCaffrey can do it all. Cam Newton prevents challenges of his own. Newton is completing passes at the highest rate of his career, while on pace to set a career low for interceptions. A true dual threat Newton is averaging five yards per carry when running the ball. For the Bucs to win this week they must slow these two down.

This game rests firmly on the shoulders of Lavonte David and the linebackers.

The Linebackers suffered what many believe to be a setback against Cleveland when Kwon Alexander suffered a season ending injury. I am not as high on Kwon as a lot of Bucs fans are. In my opinion he is a below average tackler and takes bad angles all too often. Splash plays have become increasingly rare from Kwon and when he’s not making those, I consider him to be a liability more often than not. I am not saying Kwon is a bad football player, I am just saying he is not fit to be a middle linebacker. Kwon Alexander is best suited to play the weakside and with Lavonte David playing that position at an all-pro level Kwon was pushed to the middle out of necessity. It looks like this week we may see the return of the best middle linebacker on this team, Kendall Beckwith. I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I ask you to watch these two play and then make an objective decision. Take the red hair and emotion of Kwon Alexander out of your decision and judge these two by their play on the field. I bet you will agree, Beckwith is better.

Slowing down McCaffrey and Newton is the key to this game.

Tampa Bay linebackers have struggled covering running backs this season. We all remember watching Tarik Cohen run free against the Bucs. It could be a repeat this week if the linebackers don’t do a better job keeping track of McCaffrey. We have seen Cam Newton exploit the Bucs by running the ball too many times to keep track of. The linebackers must stay disciplined both in the pass game and the run game. Newton and McCaffrey will shred this defense if the linebackers are over aggressive. Arm tackles will not take down Cam Newton, it is imperative that the linebackers wrap him up and wait for help to arrive. Fundamentally solid football by the linebacker is what it is going to take to beat this Carolina Panther team.

This column is generally about telling you what it will take to beat the upcoming opponent. This week it took a bit of a slightly different angle.

I could rattle off a list of reasons the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will win this week as I’m sure most of you could, but I won’t. Yes, this team brings me more heartache than joy but come 1:00 P.M. Sunday I’ll be sitting on the edge of my couch with a beer in hand expecting the Bucs to win as I do every week. After the let down I felt last week in the Bengals game, this week, I just really needed someone to talk to. Thanks for listening.

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