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December 29, 2013 @ 12:05 am
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Five Keys To Victory – Week 17: Bucs Vs. Saints

Written by Mark
Mark Cook


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The Buccaneers will head into New Orleans on Sunday looking to play the spoiler role and secure some momentum and good feelings heading into another playoff-less offseason. What five goals can the Buccaneers attempt to achieve to pull of a huge upset?
Writing a Keys To Victory column may seem silly to some at this point, especially considering the circumstances (Saints must win, and the Bucs out of the playoff chase), and while the challenge of beating the Saints appears to be too tall of a task for the Buccaneers in Week 17, stranger things have happened. Not often, but they have.

So what five things can the Buccaneers attempt to achieve in order to notch the biggest upset in the NFL in the last couple years? Find out what PewterReport.com editor Mark Cook thinks in this week’s Five Keys To Victory.

Find A Way To Run
The task of beating the Saints is monumental in itself, and to think it can be accomplished without some semblance of a running game? That would be almost impossible barring Drew Brees, Cameron Jordan and Jimmy Graham coming down with food poisoning around noon tomorrow.

The fact is, it doesn’t matter who is calling the plays, lined up under center or giving the halftime speech – if the Buccaneers do not run the football in New Orleans on Sunday they are virtually guaranteed to pick up their 12th loss of the season.

That’s not to say the Buccaneers have to run for 150 yards, but averaging less than two yards a carry, and being in second-and-long all afternoon, will certainly equal defeat.

Keep Glennon Clean
Almost, and perhaps just as crucial as the first key, is giving quarterback Mike Glennon time to find open receivers. The offensive line is easily the highest paid unit on the team, and also the most disappointing. Being a rookie quarterback is difficult enough with a clean pocket, but succeeding with defensive lineman in your face or hammering you from the blindside doesn’t equal very much success.

A handful of these linemen are playing to prove if they are worthy to come back next season. Hopefully the magnitude of the situation has been pressed upon them. Glennon needs to have time to allow plays to develop if the Bucs have any hope to register an upset.

Stop Graham From Gashing
Jimmy Graham burned the Bucs for 179 yards on 10 receptions back in September and that was with a healthy Mark Barron in the lineup. If Barron can’t go on Sunday the task of slowing down arguably the NFL’s best tight end becomes an even more difficult task. While Keith Tandy has been a decent fill-in this season for both Dashon Goldson and Barron at times, he is nowhere near ready to handle the duty of trying to slow Graham down by himself.

The Bucs would be wise to double Graham with a safety and the nickel corner, and let Darrelle Revis and Johnthan Banks live and die in man coverage. If Brees sees Graham alone in single coverage with just a safety, the results may be worse than the 41-0 drubbing at the hands of the Saints in the Superdome last season.

Let It All Hang Out
What do you have to lose? Chances are, if Greg Schiano stays, then their will be some shakeups within the ranks of the coaching staff next week. So if you are offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, anything left in the playbook needs to be shown on Sunday. Heck, draw them up on the dry erase board on the sidelines if you have to, but don’t leave anything in the tank.

Bill Sheridan? Bring the house at times. Line up in a completely different look than you have shown at anytime this season. Turn Gerald McCoy and the defensive line loose, and tackle the runner on the way to sacking Brees.

If the Bucs try and go toe to toe with Saints using just their base looks and predictable schemes, it could get ugly early.

Embrace The Challenge
The Saints have to win this game to guarantee them a place in the postseason, so this is essentially a wild card playoff game. While the Bucs will be home next week regardless of the outcome, the players need to look at the challenge of playing the spoiler role and inflicting serious damage on the Saints chances of the postseason.

The Superdome will be rocking, and the Saints will come out with a ton of emotion. If the Buccaneers want a small taste of playoff football they will get it on Sunday. Will they embrace it?

PewterReport.com Predictions:
Mark Cook – Saints 30, Buccaneers 16
Scott Reynolds – Saints 27, Buccaneers 13

Last modified on Sunday, 29 December 2013 08:17

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  • avatar

    Dashon Goldson, if you are scared to hit now, we need to get rid of you. I am a big fan of yours, but now you are playing scared b/c of a fine. Either hit whatever comes over the middle or quit. You are an enforcer, play like one
  • avatar

    I hope this beat down is enough to convince the Glazers we need to move in a new direction. Hopefully after another bad season the Glazers will realize they know nothing about hiring coaches, and promoting a G.M. from within was also a big mistake. Please, hire someone who knows what they're doing to hire a new G.M. coach, You guys don't have a clue.
  • avatar

    "Let it all Hang Out" is a song from the 60's that is appropriate when devising the Bucs game plan today. Here are Scubog's Keys to (Not Becoming the Homecoming Opponent on the Saints way to the Playoffs) er, Victory. Key # 1: "Home for the Holidays" (Burl Ives ?)-The Saints have a far better record in their Dome than they do on a real football field. So much so that they and their fans believe they are invincible in their bubble. The mighty Bucs are the same team home or away. Even at Ray Jay, the Buccaneers have to be subjected to the chants of the visiting fans thus they are highly prepared to endure the age old question "Who Dat" being rained down ad-naseum. Had Schiano not gone for the missed field-goal and simply ate up clock the Buccaroonies would have won back in September. Key # 2: "Show Me What You Can Do" (Michael Jackson) Opposing defenses quickly learned to focus on stopping the run and defending the two-yard passes by keeping 10 defenders within five yards of the LOS. How about letting Glennon throw the ball over their heads once in a while. Let's see if the "chosen one" can be a "play-maker" and not just a guy to avoid mistakes. Key # 3: Not So Fast Red Beans & Rice Breath" (Johnny Carson) There is little doubt the Saints fans are already planning their celebration in the French Quarter after the game. At least keep the game close and in doubt until the end so that with each minute their stomach bubbles into outright nausea spoiling their appetite. Key # 4: "Let Me Please Introduce Myself" (Mick Jager)-Lavonte David has a chance to show the world why he should have been selected for the Pro-Bowl instead of those 3-4 pass rushers. Put Drew Brees on his butt a few times and pick off a pass or two and every Saints fan will be asking "Who Dat?" Key # 5: "I am a Rock, I am an Island" (Simon and Garfunkle)- Even coming off an injury Revis is still one of the best. Put him on Jimmy Graham and frustrate Brees into forcing a few balls. And the Bonus Key: "Just Win Baby" (Al Davis) The results of this game may not be the determining factor as to the extent of the purge that may happen at OBP; but a win here would at least make it a more difficult choice for the Glazer boys and give us fans a little hope that maybe, just maybe we don't have to start completely over again in 2014.
  • avatar

    Decent predictions, but I see the score being more one sided. Saints kills us to advance :(
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