Winning is a Habit Easy to Break

The talent level in the NFL has reached heights so high that teams will do virtually anything to gain an advantage. The mental aspect of the game has become just as important as the game plan. Having an intimidating home stadium stuffed to the gills with raucous partisan fans is a huge emotional boost for a football team, which is one reason why Thursday's fracas with the sophomore Texans is so important.

Once a standard has been set at a high level it is both imperative and difficult to maintain. As Super Bowl Champions the Buccaneers have set the standard for other teams to reach this season. This puts the Bucs in a situation that they love being in, but the maintenance of their status will be more difficult as the season progresses. Every team the Bucs face this season will be up for the challenge of knocking off the champs. This gives every single opposing team an advantage emotionally, especially towards the end of the season when teams out of the play-off race will seek justification of their season by beating the world champions. The Bucs and their fans must make other teams fear Raymond James Stadium, which is why Thursday's game has more to offer than just seeing who will make the squad. Pre-season or not, winning is the only acceptable outcome. How intimidated will Carolina be on September 14th if the Bucs last home game was a loss to the lowly Texans? The answer is not very. The Panthers will be telling themselves that if the sophomores can do it so can we. Other teams should come in to RJS thinking how in the hell are we supposed to beat these guys in their own house? Don't let the Pre be misleading. Every game counts and affects the emotion and momentum of a football team. Look for the Bucs to be pumped up and merciless Thursday as the emotional tune for the season will be tuned up for the final time before the curtain goes up on the big show Monday night in Philadelphia.

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