The Bucs line up against the Ravens this weekend. For those of you who might have younger sisters (not me, I was just living in the US at the time), you might be familiar with a US Teen TV show called “That’s so Raven”. The Synopsis- “No ordinary teenager; Raven Baxter can see glimpses of the future! Watch her schemes and misadventures as she enlists the help of friends, including best friends Eddie and Chelsea, to change life’s little outcomes” This show aired between 2003 (3 weeks before the Bucs won the Super Bowl) and November 2007 (about 6 weeks before the Buccaneers last playoff appearance). Maybe this fictional TV girl held all the super powers for the Buccaneers? Who knows?
Joking and silly TV references aside, this game on Sunday is really only important to one team. The Ravens are in the midst of a playoff contention run and also a run at the Divisional Title. They have named rookie QB Lamar Jackson as the starter for the 4th consecutive week and they are bring a league leading run offence to take on the 30th ranked defence in the NFL this season. To make matters even worse, the Buccaneers concede twice as many points on the road (40) than they do at home (20). Let that sink in. TWICE AS MANY!!!
The Buccaneers offence has massively slowed down since Dirk Koetter has taken the play calling reigns back, putting up 27 against the hapless 49ers, 24 against a Panthers team in disarray, and a hopeless 14 points against the Saints at home, scoring none in the second half.
On one sideline you have a team in the midst of change. Developing a young Quarterback and mastering the art of complementary football. Whilst on the other side, you just have a heaping pile of “same old story” and “good players, poor team”.
Ironically, both of these coaches are on the hot seat, with many people believing John Harbaugh will leave his post, whilst Koetter almost all but confirmed he would not be there next season. When asked about the potential of a London game next season, as the Buccaneers have been named as one of the five home teams in the International Series for 2019, he talked about the Buccaneers as a separate entity, saying they and not we. Maybe I am reading too much into this, or I am being an optimist, but for me, Dirk Koetter is a dead man walking.
Whilst Harbaugh might be playing for his job, they won’t have to worry about the Buccaneers this week. The game script is going to go something like this… Ravens dominate Time of Possession with long 8-10 minute drives and scoring points consistently, whilst the Bucs will use quick offence to get to the Red Zone, before finding a spectacular way to fail. This will be either with turnovers or missed kicks. Once the Ravens get 14-16 in front, the Buccaneers will put it all together, go on a spectacular fourth quarter run, and fall 3-6 points short with an interception on a gamble play on the last offensive possession of the game.
Whilst that’s a very specific analysis and prediction of the game, I am confident that it will happen? Why? Two reasons.
1) It’s just the natural game script based on watching both these teams for 13 games this season. The Ravens are 3rd in the league in their last 3 games with an average Time of Possession of 34:03. They are tied for 4th in Rushing Touchdowns this season with 16, with the Buccaneers averaging almost 4 minutes less in that time and have failed to produce a 100 yard rusher every game this season bar 1. When you have one team who can run the football, and another who not only cannot run the football, but struggle to defend the run, then the result will only go one way.
2) I called Raven out of retirement for advice and help. She was happy to give me the advice, but cannot help me to reverse the fortunes of this Buccaneers franchise.
The final score prediction will be Baltimore Ravens 31- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27.
So I end on this final thought. If the Glazers want to bring some success to Tampa, they will need to do three things:
1) Bring back Jason Licht to assemble the talent.
2) If the Ravens are stupid enough to fire John Harbaugh, pay him whatever he wants and give him a 5 year contract. And
3) Pay the Disney Channel whatever they want to bring back “That’s so Raven”
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