The Creamsicles are back!
Tampa Bay will wear its throwback Creamsicle orange uniforms Sunday when the Panthers play the Bucs in Tampa, harking back to those glorious days when the Bucs once lost 26 games in a row and head coach John McKay, when asked about his team's execution, quipped that he was in favor of it.
It's actually part of a whole throwback theme. The loudspeakers will be blaring music from the 1970s and the Bucs will induct former tight end Jimmie Giles from their early days into their Ring of Honor.
I've always liked Tampa Bay’s Creamsicle uniforms myself – they are among the weirdest uniforms in sports history, joining the uniforms of the 1970s-era Pittsburgh Pirates (remember the caps?) and the 1980s-era Houston Astros. And being dressed like an ice-cream popsicle fits these Bucs, because Tampa Bay has again become one of the NFL season’s biggest disappointments.
After starting 4-2, Tampa Bay has lost five straight games. Head coach Raheem Morris was asked by reporters about his job security this week – that’s never a good sign. Only Indianapolis (11 games) and San Diego (six) are currently limping through longer losing streaks.
-- The Bucs will start a Josh at quarterback Sunday, but it's unclear which one. Josh Freeman has started the past 36 games in a row for Tampa Bay, but he suffered a throwing shoulder injury on the last play of the game last week. If Freeman can’t go – and he's been very limited in practice this week – the Bucs will go with backup Josh Johnson. Like Freeman, Johnson can run, but he’s not as physical and his arm isn’t quite as good.
-- The Bucs are very banged up on the defensive line, which makes it even more imperative that the Panthers use a run/pass ratio similar to the one last week in the win over Indianapolis (35 runs, 27 passes).
-- I've picked the Panthers' outcome correctly the past three weeks in a row, including getting the spread right against Indianapolis last week (I picked Carolina to win by eight points).
I think that the Buccaneers (4-7) are in a freefall and have had a spate of recent injuries. Carolina (3-8) will win this game as long as it runs the ball well and its defense doesn't blow it. I think the Panthers will prevail, 28-24.
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