Super Bowl XXXVII predictions

The big game is near – Super Bowl XXXVII. While it will be difficult for many Packers fans to watch Warren Sapp take the field for the Buccaneers on Sunday, Packer Report staff members are looking past the Mouth of the South with a little chatter on who will win the NFL title.<p>

The predictions:

Todd Korth, managing editor

Prediction: Bucs 24, Raiders 17

Defense wins championships. Like everyone else in Green Bay, I want the Raiders to win, but I think the Bucs' defense is just too good. They shut down the Packers earlier this year. Dominating the Eagles in Philadelphia was impressive. They can do the same with the Raiders and muster just enough offense of their own to win their first-ever NFL title.

Don Beebe, former Packers wide receiver

Prediction: Raiders 37, Bucs 13

This is a tough one and I keep going back and forth. This I do know, if it a close one I will go with Tampa 20-17. If it's a blow out I will go for Oakland 37-13. Sorry for the indecision but if you are going make me choose I will go with the Raiders.

Doug Ritchay, columnist

Prediction: Bucs 20, Raiders 17

The Buc's No. 1 defense against the Radiers' No. 1 offense offers an intriguing matchup, but it'll probably be the other sides of the ball that determine the outcome. How Brad Johnson and Co. handle Oakland's defense will be the reason for the result, which is: Tampa Bay wins its first Super Bowl, edging the Raiders 20-17, and the worst part of this is Warren Sapp will talk even more now because he has a Super Bowl ring.

John Carpentier, memorabilia columnist

Prediction: Raiders 27, Bucs 17

Oakland's offense will have some success against the Buccaneers' defense. Tampa's offense will have trouble scoring against the Oakland defense. (I want anybody to win other than the Bucs).

David Marran, trivia columnist

Prediction: Raiders 20, Bucs 14

As much as it pains to me to pick the Buccaneers, common sense says the swashbuckling crew from Tampa will prevail. There's an old adage that says offense wins games but defense wins championships. In a Super Bowl reminscent of the dud the Ravens and Giants played, the Buccaneers will edge the Raiders 20-14.

Laura Veras Marran , correspondent

Prediction: Raiders 24, Buccaneers 17

Here's hoping the matchup between the Oakland's juggernaut offense vs. Tampa Bay's punishing defense lives up to its promise. Intangibles could swing the balance to the Raiders: They have an impressive collection of savvy veterans, and they may feel like the home team in division-rival San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium. Meanwhile, the Bucs may suffer the same fate as most teams who are just happy to get there.

Tom Andrews, correspondent

Prediction: Bucs 27 Raiders 21

It's an old cliché that "offense sells tickets but defense wins championships" but I think it will apply to this game. The Raiders are a great team, especially on offense with Gannon and his receivers. But if there's one defensive team capable of putting pressure on Gannon, it's the speedy Buccaneers. The Raiders enjoy a great home advantage in Oakland but this game will be on neutral turf in San Diego. If emotions play as big a part in this game as it appears they will, I look for Jon Gruden to have his team ready for the challenge.

Matt Tevsh, correspondent

Prediction: Bucs 26, Raiders 17

I liked the Bucs to win back in August, and I still like them to win in January. This is best Super Bowl matchup in quite some time. Head coach Jon Gruden has brought the Bucs' what they were missing – attitude and an improved offense. I think Brad Johnson and Co. will be able to find the end zone a couple of times against the Raiders after seeing them have success against the vaunted Eagles' defense. On the other side, I think Monte Kiffin and the Bucs' defense has what it takes to slow Gannon and the Raiders' passing attack, though it will be their biggest challenge of the season. Look for a Bucs' defensive player to win game MVP honors - maybe Derrick Brooks or Brian Kelly.

Brett Christopherson, correspondent

Prediction: Bucs 26, Raiders 17

Jon Gruden knows Oakland inside and out so he and his staff won't have much trouble figuring out its weaknesses. Like every other team, the Raiders will have trouble staying patient against Tampa's famed cover 2 zone defense and force things offensively. As a result, look for some costly turnovers by the Raiders and a Vince Lombardi Trophy for Chucky and the Bucs.

W. Keith Roerdink, correspondent

Prediction: Raiders 30, Bucs 20

Rich Gannon is in a zone like few others have ever been and won't be rattled like Garcia or McNabb were. Gruden may know his old team, but he doesn't have the playmakers on offense that Callahan has. Look for Gannon to come out firing deep to WR Jerry Porter and RB Charlie Garner to step up when the Bucs D adjusts. Bill Huber, correspondent

Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Raiders 20

The Buccaneers' offense impressed me in the NFC championship at Philadelphia. There's no reason to think that unit won't perform well in sunny San Diego against a decent but not great Oakland defense. Meanwhile, the Bucs' top-ranked defense is unlike anything Rich Gannon has seen.

Mark A. Wallenfang, photographer

Prediction: Raiders 31, Bucs 28

The Raiders will win it within the last 4 minutes of the game. The MVP of the game will be the Raider's Rich Gannon. The Raiders should have been deeper in the playoffs a year ago, so they will be hungry for this one. Tim Brown deserves to finally win a Super Bowl ring, Warren Sapp does not.

Dave Fredrickson, photographer

Prediction: Raiders 24, Bucs 15

Tampa fans will have to settle for an appearance in the Super Bowl as Oakland's aging veterans will put up enough points to overcome Tampa's limited offensive production. That won't stop the television cameras from focusing on Warren Sapp at every opportunity. Hopefully those cameras will show him pouting and moody after the final gun.

Jeff Royle, VP of Sales/Marketing

Prediction: Raiders 34 Bucs 17

You would have to hold a gun to my head to ever pick the Bucs to win. No running game and I bet many friends that Brad Johnson wasn't good enough to win a Super Bowl when he was with the Vikings. Rich Gannon is just too hot right now. My god, every pass the guy throws is on the money, and he won't make the mistakes that would give the Tampa defense the score it needs to beat the Raiders.

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