Tampa Bay Buccaneers

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What Clinching the NFC South Would Mean to Lavonte David & the Bucs' New Home | Carmen Catches Up

The Buccaneers have the opportunity to clinch the NFC South this Sunday against the Saints and if for no other reason, they should do it because it makes Lavonte David happy.

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-This may be the second time the Buccaneers will square off against the division-rival Saints this year but it looks like a completely different team thanks to the question mark under center. The first time around, the Bucs faced off against Jameis Winston at quarterback until he was injured in the first half and quarterback Trevor Siemian came in. Now, the Saints have been rolling with Taysom Hill, a utility player for most of his career – and that changes things.

"It's totally different than when we were getting ready for Jameis [Winston] because you've got all the quarterback runs like we had last week with Josh Allen," said Head Coach Bruce Arians. "Taysom [Hill], he's a hell of a player. He's a tough tackle, so he can kill you running the ball. We've got to keep him contained and make him throw it."

Last time around, the Saints brought in Siemian, who was also a different player from Winston, so Sunday offers an opportunity for redemption. Add to the fact that the last time these two teams met on Sunday Night Football, it didn't exactly go the Bucs' way, either. And this team hasn't forgotten that.

It's safe to say a win for the Bucs this Sunday means a lot – and not just because it's an opportunity for redemption – but because the Bucs could clinch the NFC South for the first time since 2007. And that would mean a lot to a certain player who happens to be the longest-tenured Buccaneer on the roster.

"It would mean a lot for me personally with not being able to win one throughout my career here and finally having the chance," said inside linebacker Lavonte David. "You definitely want to capitalize on that opportunity. Last time we played on this stage, they put a whooping on us. Whenever you have the chance to go out there and play again and play for a lot more – it's not just a regular season game. There's a lot more at stake so it should definitely be a fun football game. For us to get his win would be really huge to clinch the division."

The Bucs need to lock the division up this Sunday if for no other reason than David's happiness. I said what I said.

The good news is, there's no lack of motivation and it would mean a lot to all the players, including left tackle Donovan Smith.

"It would be great," he said. "We always have goals each season. Last year we started with the Super Bowl, so now it's like what's the next goal? We wanted to win our division last year and obviously we couldn't, but that's our task this year. To be able to accomplish that and keep pushing toward our ultimate goal is just better. Like I said, to be able to do that at home for the fans to enjoy it with us and have fun. Make sure you're all wearing red. I'm going to be checking out for everybody in the stands so make sure you all wear red, but it will be fun."

"I think it's an honor," wide receiver Chris Godwin said. "I think it's a testament to the hard work that everyone in this building puts in. I know there have been some pretty bad years here, and I've been a part of a few of them, so just to be a part of a couple of the teams that turned things around here is pretty cool."

The Bucs sure have come a long way from those 'pretty bad years' Godwin mentioned. Instead of wondering *if* Tampa Bay can make the postseason, or relying on other teams and tiebreakers to see if it happens, they control their own fate. Now, it's more a matter of when they'll clinch and what seed they'll be.

"It feels great," said cornerback Richard Sherman, who may be a new addition but appreciates it nonetheless. "It always feels great to be in the mix. I've been a part of three Super Bowl teams and all three of them we ended up being the [No. 1] seed and having that Bye to be able to get through the playoffs – it feels good. You feel the energy from the veterans. You feel the focus. You feel guys preparing for that last run. They know what it takes. You know that once these four games are over, the season is over, and the new season just begins."

-The Buccaneers have a new home! Sort of… On Wednesday, the NFL announced 18 teams that have been granted access to International Home Marketing Areas and the Bucs will now embrace Germany as their home away from home. Germany already has a strong Buccaneers fan base and the team is looking forward to growing it starting in 2022 and beyond. For more on the program, click here.

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