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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Bucs Have Opportunity to 'Gain Ground' as Divisional Play Begins

The Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers for their first divisional game of the 2017 season this Sunday.

Pictures of some of the Panthers' top players.

The Buccaneers are still in the thick of things within the NFC South division. They are set to open division play at home against the Carolina Panthers this Sunday and will go back-to-back as they travel to New Orleans in Week 9 for another divisional tilt.

A lot can happen in two weeks.

For instance, just two short weeks ago both the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons were widely considered to be two of the top five teams in the league in Week 6. The latest NFL Power Rankings now have them sitting at 16 and 19, respectively. The New Orleans Saints, previously ranked as low as No. 22 in the same time frame on, are currently on top of the division with a 4-2 record.

"We're only two games out, everyone realizes that," tight end Cam Brate said on Wednesday. "One win on Sunday would be unbelievable for us- home game in the division- it's a great opportunity for us."

With first and last place separated by two games in the NFC South and the Bucs first divisional contest coming at home, Tampa Bay can capitalize in a big way this week.

"[The division] is close right now," cornerback Brent Grimes said. "This is an opportunity to gain some ground."

The Bucs have had success at home as well. They opened their season with a convincing 29-7 win over the Chicago Bears and took care of Odell Beckham Jr. and the New York Giants in a Week 4 thriller on their home turf.

Recent weeks haven't been as kind to the Bucs, with the team currently on a three-game skid. However, it's worth noting that the Buccaneers have lost those last three contests by a collective 11 points.

A lot can happen in two weeks.

"What better way to get back on track than back-to-back division games?" defensive tackle Gerald McCoy said.

The Buccaneers will host the Panthers on Sunday, October 29 at 1 p.m.

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