TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – For a third-straight week, the Bucs have a chance to clinch the NFC South title for the first time since 2007. A win or a tie against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday means the Bucs de-throne the Saints, who have held the division crown for the last four seasons.
“We just want to play better,” said Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians. “Go out and win a ball game, play better and get it over with.”
“We’ve got to go out and play well,” said Bucs quarterback Tom Brady. “There’s no excuses. We’re just trying to go out there and do well. All of us who are out there doing it have got to go play our best.”
But in order to get past the Panthers, the Bucs have a lot to clean-up from last week’s loss to the Saints.
“We can’t come out and play flat as a whole,” said Bucs center Ryan Jensen. “It wasn’t one of us. It wasn’t two of us. It was really the whole group as a whole came out flat and we kind of got our butts kicked.”
“We don’t like the way we played last game,” said Bucs outside linebacker Shaq Barrett. “It left a nasty taste in our mouth. We’ve got to get that out. Even though, say the defense played good, we didn’t do enough. We needed to do more.”
“I mean it’s football,” said Bucs Offensive Coordinator Byron Leftwich. “It’s football and that’s just the way it goes. Nobody’s feeling sorry for us. We’ve just got to go out and get ready, prepare the right way this week so we can have success on Sunday.”
“You’ve got to find different ways to win with different players – different avenues for success,” said Bucs quarterback Tom Brady. “It’s not always the same thing that’s going to win all the time. I always feel like there’s got to be some type of opportunity guys look for in moments like this. Because you’re challenged in different ways, it makes you think differently. Some of those things can add to other aspects of what we’re trying to do offensively. I know we’ve all been working hard this week to try to get things to where we need to get in order for us to feel confident to go out there on Sunday.”
The Bucs can also clinch the division if the Saints lose or tie against the Dolphins on Monday, and there are a few scenarios for the Bucs to secure a playoff berth on Sunday even if they don’t win the division.
“I’ve got faith in all the guys that’s on the team that we’re going to be able to get it together now that we’ve got time to game plan and we’re going to make the plays needed to go out and get a victory this week,” Brady said.
The Bucs (10-4) and Panthers (5-9) kick-off at 1:00 p.m. at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.