At 0-3 and after just 3 games, the Bucs season seemed to already be over, but Sunday's game against Saints could put the Bucs right back into contention for the NFC South title.
I know it's odd to be talking a division title with the Bucs after the start they've had to this season, but their start has almost been replicated by everyone else in the division. The Falcons and Panthers are both 2-2, while the Saints are also 1-3.
The Falcons and Panthers, although they are both a game ahead of the Saints and the Bucs, have difficult matchups on Sunday. The Falcons, coming of a loss to the Vikings, face the much improved New York Giants in New York after the Giants had 10 days to prepare. The Panthers have lost 2 straight games by a combined score of 75-29 and face a tough Chicago Bears team on Sunday.
It is very possible that both the Falcons and Panthers could end the day with 2-3 records each. That means the winner between the Bucs and Saints would be tied for 1st place in the NFC South after horrendous starts to each of their seasons.
For the Bucs, their game against the Saints could be the difference between competing for a division title and already looking towards next season. As I pointed out, a win puts the Bucs right into the mix, and a possible tie, atop the NFC South. I think you'd also make the case, that with a win, the Bucs would have a win streak and the belief would be that the Bucs would continue to improve under 1st year head coach Lovie Smith.A loss puts the Bucs at 1-4, and while they could still just be a game back in the division race, their 0-3 record at that point in division games would be an extremely deep hole to try and climb out of.
Sure, it might be crazy to even be talking about a division title with the Bucs being 1-3 on the season, but for Bucs fans, this is really all we have to hold on to for right now.
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