Time for the Bucs to bundle up and bear down in Green Bay
Snow swirled around the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' charter plane and blanketed the runway as they landed in Green Bay on Saturday.
By contrast, the team woke up to cloudless skies on Sunday, the day of their season finale against the Green Bay Packers. The horizon, just like the Bucs' task ahead, was clear.
As monumental as the Bucs' victory over St. Louis was on Monday, the team believes that today's game is equally important. That's because a season goal that once seemed out of reach, the NFC Central title, is now just two game results away.
First, the Buccaneers must win in Green Bay, something they haven't done since 1989. Second, the Minnesota Vikings must lose at Indianapolis, where the suddenly-hot Colts are fighting for their playoff lives. Should the New Orleans Saints also lose at home to the Rams, the Bucs will also earn the second NFC seed behind the New York Giants and will be rewarded with a bye during the opening week of the playoffs.
Of course, the only third of that scenario under the Buccaneers' control is today's game in Lambeau Field, and some would say even that is a stretch given the team's all-time record in cold-weather games. In 18 tries, Tampa Bay has never won when the kickoff temperature measures in below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
Buccaneers Head Coach Tony Dungy scoffs at that note, and for good reason. His own team, which he took over in 1996 and molded into a playoff unit by '97, has had very few opportunities to break that string. It has, however, removed many of the old stumbling blocks formerly associated with the team…and there were many. The cold-weather 'jinx' is just about the last one remaining, and the team would love to remove it from the ledger while also taking the NFC Central crown.
You can follow all of the action today in our special Gameday section. Inside, you'll find several pre-game reports from the Bucs' locker room – including thoughts on the weather, of course – as well as detailed play-by-plays of each quarter of action, action photos posted during the game, injury updates, statistical nuggets and a link to live play-by-play coverage.