Matthew Postins: So fire away. What do you want to talk about?
ThePewterPirate: We are gonna win this division, watch...
riverbiatch: Was it just me or did the Panthers seem confused?
Matthew Postins: They've certainly set themselves up for it. They're a game up and the soft part of their schedule is coming up. The Panthers did look lost. I don't understand why. That's a veteran team. Perhaps they learned what the Bucs learned last year with a backup quarterback.
ThePewterPirate: The Panthers seemed lack any drive, you can't play like them and expect to win games. We just had the roughest part of our schedule, once we get by Indy that is.
Matthew Postins: No sacks, no real pressure on Garcia. Terrible pass coverage. Not what Bucs fans are used to seeing from the Panthers.
ThePewterPirate: Not one bit
Matthew Postins: After Indy its Tennessee, Jacksonville, Detroit and Arizona, and all but one are at home. They could be 6-3 at the bye realistically.
ThePewterPirate: The only one who showed up (for Carolina) was (Kris) Jenkins.
Matthew Postins: The Falcons showed you could attack the Panthers D up the middle. With no Dan Morgan to monitor the middle, the Panthers were pretty much defenseless.
ThePewterPirate: I don't see Jax, Motown, or Tenn. beating us, or Zona. They have (Kurt) Warner again (at quarterback). Yeah, who'da thought that there would be no Morgan by this time of the year.
Matthew Postins: I think the most perilous game in that stretch is Detroit. The Lions can score in bunches and you know (Rod) Marinelli wants a chance to take on (Jon) Gruden.
ThePewterPirate: Yeah. But out defense has kept (Torry) Holt, (Isaac) Bruce and (Steve) Smith in check.
Matthew Postins: The secondary has been terrific across the board. Phillip Buchanon made a couple of great plays on Smith today. (Jermaine) Phillips continues to play aggressively and picked off another pass today. This unit is softening the fact that the pass rush is still a work in progress. Though I did see progress today, especially in the second half, regarding the pass rush. Three sacks and five pressures is a solid day. And the pressure enabled the Bucs linebackers and secondary to play as close to a true Cover 2 as they have all season.
ThePewterPirate: The Panthers are a team that needs to reevaluate its whole season if it wants to compete.
Matthew Postins: Where do you guys think the Bucs stack up in the NFC right now? I have my own opinion, but I want to hear yours.
ThePewterPirate: I think the Bucs are one of the top 4 teams in the NFC right now.
Matthew Postins: I think it's Dallas, then Green Bay, then everyone else. The Bucs are part of a large group of teams after that, with the Bucs probably near the top, along with Seattle and Washington.
ThePewterPirate: I think we are up on Washington.
Matthew Postins: The Bucs will get a good look at them on Nov. 25. I don't think the Redskins can keep it up, though. That defense, to me, will be exposed as a weak unit as the season goes on. The Bucs would be a No. 4 seed if the season ended today, given their loss to Seattle.
ThePewterPirate: Our defense was in the Top 5 in difficulty to score on, before we held them (Carolina) to 7.
Matthew Postins: They'll be Top 3 when the new rankings come out on Tuesday. Pittsburgh gave up 21 today to Arizona. And can I just say that Barrett Ruud is a full-grown man? I'm thoroughly impressed by what he's done the first four games.
ThePewterPirate: I just wish we had more sacks.
Matthew Postins: I have a feeling that will come now. I think it's encouraging for this team that (Patrick) Chukwurah, (Jovan) Haye and (Greg) Peterson had the sacks. If your second-tier guys are productive, that'll only benefit the defense once (Kevin) Carter, (Greg) Spires and (Gaines) Adams start producing more consistently. The Bucs now have about seven guys they can rotate out, and only Adams doesn't have a sack yet.
ThePewterPirate: Carter is playing really well
Matthew Postins: Yes he is. It just doesn't always show up on the stat sheet.
ThePewterPirate: Ruud is leading in tackles too
Matthew Postins: Ruud was leading the NFL in tackles before the game.
ThePewterPirate: Atlanta won.
Matthew Postins: The Falcons are starting to really perform.
ThePewterPirate: (Joey) Harrington looked decent.
Matthew Postins: Joey Harrington is really starting to flourish a bit under Petrino. Mark this down. That first game with Atlanta in Atlanta is going to be a big one. I think the Falcons will make it interesting.
Matthew Postins: You know what surprised me today? The Panthers never really attacked the middle of the field. (David) Carr didn't have enough time, but also the Bucs secondary played so well in coverage. And, the Panthers dropped a lot of passes.
ThePewterPirate: They kept dropping passes when Carr did get them to the WR's. Even (Jake) Delhomme can't make them catch.
Matthew Postins: The whole offense was discombobulated, and It was hard to pinpoint why.
ThePewterPirate: It worked out for us. But that entire team played like ... well, they reminded me of us last season. Just no clicking on any front.
Matthew Postins: That's a good parallel, especially with Carr at QB. Everything just seemed to sputter.
ThePewterPirate: The thing that psyches me up is that we can move the ball now. Except for that turnover on downs.
Matthew Postins: That first drive was sensational from the standpoint of pacing and production .If you could draw up a drive to start a game that would be it. The Bucs set the tone and controlled everything.
Matthew Postins: Still, the Bucs were a +1 today in turnovers. If you're a plus, you're usually going to win.
ThePewterPirate: True. A wins a win. They all count. It bugs me that we lost to Seattle. If we played them now I think we could have beaten them.
Matthew Postins: You're right. Seattle's playing well, but even on that opening day they were beatable.
ThePewterPirate: OK, so with keeping in mind the problems everyone is having in our division, how do you like our chances in winning the NFC South. I think we are the clear faves, and if they still keep putting us as underdogs, I'm gonna get annoyed. It's not like we are getting lucky. We are earning every win we get now.
Matthew Postins: I'd say right now they're a 3-1 favorite to win. Being one game up, and with a soft part of their schedule coming up, they could be 6-3 by the bye. I see them splitting with ATL, beating WSH and then you really only need two more wins. They won't run the table in the division because it's just too hard, but I could see them going 5-1 or 4-2, which is just about right. If they don't absorb any more Cadillac-like injuries, I think they'll be fine.