Leave it up to a football coach to simplify things. Ahead of their second-consecutive divisional matchup, this time in London, Bucs Head Coach Bruce Arians called it really nothing more than a business trip like any other.
"It’s a football field – it’s measured the same,” Arians said. “Just go play. We aren’t going over there to sight see.”
Though technically it’s considered a home game, the environment surrounding the field will be very different from Tampa. The stadium, home to the Tottenham Hotspur soccer, excuse me, football team, is brand new for this year. It was completed just recently after being under construction since 2016. It houses over 62,000 fans, making it one of the largest Premier League stadiums and the largest club stadium in London.
But the Bucs will have to block out the noise and the flashiness of another country, because as far as the record is concerned, it’s still a division game and a chance to return to .500. The matchup has a lot of important implications back on American soil and it would put the Bucs in second place in the NFC South, not to mention give the Bucs the season sweep of the Carolina Panthers. The Bucs would be 3-3 and therefore tied in record with the Panthers, who are currently 3-2. The sweep would give the Bucs the tiebreaker, putting them one or two games behind the Saints for the division lead depending how New Orleans does on Sunday themselves.
"Yeah, I talked to our guys about it,” said Arians “If we truly have leadership, we don’t lose two in a row. That’s when your leaders show up, so this is a big game.”
The Bucs are leaving Thursday evening for London ahead of Sunday’s game. That’s not much time in a foreign country so Arians is very much right, they are just there to go play. But there are external factors that aren’t so simple. Time zones, for one thing. There have been extra measures taken by the staff and preparations that have already begun in order to get the players and coaches acclimated as quickly as possible. Just like there isn’t a lot of time for sightseeing – there isn’t a lot of time for jet lag, either.
"The doctors have a really good plan,” Arians said. “We’ve been over it, starting two weeks ago, on how to handle each day, and they’ve got different things prescribed each day as far as sleep – sleep is the main thing – when to go to bed, whatever you do. So, yeah, the sports science guys have a really good handle on it.”