Bucs set to pillage Raiders in Super Bowl
Oakland and Tampa Bay will meet in Super Bowl XXXVII to decide who is the best pillager in the National Football League-the Raiders or the Buccaneers. Let me save you the suspense: the Buccaneers will prove to be the superior thieves, exposing the Raiders' pretender status.
The only thing that the jump-suit wearing owner of the Raiders stole all season was the AFC crown, which admittedly is a major coup for a team full of flaws. Rich Gannon even won the NFL Most Valuable Player award in the feel-good story of the year.
Drafted by the Patriots to be a defensive back, Gannon stuck to his guns and demanded a trade to the Vikings (another historic pillaging force) to play quarterback. At age 38, Rich "Cannon" Gannon is playing like he belongs in Canton, Ohio-home of the pro football Hall of Fame.
Contrary to the goons and scum residing in the Black Hole, Gannon does not belong in Canton and his team does not belong in the Super Bowl.
To start with, we are talking about a team that was in danger of missing the playoffs with two weeks left in the regular season. Had the Raiders lost to the Broncos in week 16, they would have needed to win their final game of the season to earn a spot in the postseason.
If the Bucs are searching for a victory formula, all they need to do is study game films of Oakland's four-game losing streak in October and November. Check out the scores: 28-13, 27-21, 20-10, and 23-20. In order to be successful, Oakland must score at least 21 points.
Although they are the proud owners of the NFL's number-one ranked offense averaging 389.8 yards per game, the Raiders' defense ranks eleventh. Giving up an average of 311.2 yards per game and 19 points, every contest is an offensive shoot out featuring 700 yards of combined total offense. That ain't playoff football.
More disturbingly, the Raiders' pass defense ranks twenty-fourth in the National Football League. Coming off his finest season as a pro, Bucs' quarterback Brad Johnson is rearing to attack and exploit Oakland's shoddy pass coverage.
Meanwhile, Tampa Bay brings the NFL's number-one ranked defense to the big show. Giving up a meager 252.8 yards per game and 12.3 points, the Bucs' defense, led by Warren Sapp, Simeon Rice, Derrick Brooks, and John Lynch, will shut down the Raiders' vaunted offensive attack.
Remember the old adage: offense wins games, but defense wins championships. Additionally, the Bucs boast the best pass defense in the NFL, giving up only 155.6 yards in the air per game.
Conversely, the New York Jets and the Tennessee Titans rank twenty-first and twenty-fifth in pass defense, respectively. Going up against two of the leagues worst pass defenses, the Raiders looked unstoppable in AFC Divisional and AFC Championship playoffs games.
Of course Gannon, Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, and Jerry Porter shined against porous defenses! With the exception of Porter, the Raider offense is full of veteran players capable of reading and exploiting defensive breakdowns.
However, the Buccaneers are not a team that suffers from defensive let downs. The front four and blitzing linebackers will out pressure on Gannon. Al Davis' MVP will not have time to check his third and fourth reads.
In the secondary, Ronde Barber and John Lynch will punish Oakland's aging receiving core and dare Gannon to throw over the middle.
If Oakland wants to win this game, they must establish a dominant running game to neutralize Tampa Bay's blitzing schemes and keep the defense honest. However, without a 1000-yard back on their roster, it's unlikely that the Raiders will be able to set the tempo with the running game.
Charlie Garner is a scat back who is more dangerous as a pass receiver, while power runner Tyrone Wheatley will find little room in between the tackles against Tampa's front four.
Just as they have all season, the Raiders must rely on Rich Gannon to direct a one-dimensional passing offense. However, the ride ends in San Diego. If a team is to win a Super Bowl, they must have a great running game or a great defense. Oakland has neither.
I'm picking the Buccaneers in a blowout, 38-10. I'm picking the number-one ranked defense and number 24 ranked offense of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to pull through against a one-dimensional team.
The Raiders embody flash, but beneath the silver and black façade resides a lack of substance. The Bucs enter Super Bowl XXXVII after holding Jeff Garcia and Terrell Owens' 49ers to six points and Donovan McNabb's Eagles to 10. Do you really think the Raiders, led by journeyman Rich Gannon, will break 21 points?
I may hate the Raiders, but I love watching them lose. An Oakland flop in the season's biggest game is awaiting the black and silver faithful.
Even more exciting, the Raiders are the league's third most penalized team. Not only will the Raiders get blown out, but they will exhibit a lack of sportsmanship and class in front of millions of viewers.
Ever see a 200-pound man wearing spiked shoulder pads and silver and black face paint cry? You will on Sunday, thanks to the raiding of the Raiders.