Can Bucs find a way to get past Rams?

by Gary Shelton on January 22, 2022

in general

Saturday, 3 a.m.

When you make your living with your opinions, people are bound to disagree. Eventually, they are going to suggest that, objectively speaking, they think you're an idiot.

Over the years, it has happened. Some opinions are so outlandish, so hard to accept, that people lash out at you. Sometimes, they use descriptive words in their rebuttals.

Ah, but never, in the history of ever, did I tick people off as vocally as I did in January of 2003.

Content beyond this point is for members only.

Already a member? To view the rest of this column, sign in using the handy "Sign In" button located in the upper right corner of the blog (it's at the far right of the navigation bar under Gary's photo)!

Not a member? It's easy to subscribe so you can view the rest of this column and all other premium content on

As you might remember, the Bucs were about to play the Philadelphia in that house of horror known as Veteran's Stadium. It was cold, again, and it was dark, again, and misery seemed to lie ahead.

So did the most galling thing you can imagine.

I picked the Eagles to win.

The nerve of me.

Oh, there were reasons. The Bucs had traveled to Philly and lost badly for two straight seasons. One was the 2000 Bucs, which might have been Tony Dungy's best-ever team. But that team lost to Green Bay on a missed gimmie field goal, and instead of a bye, had to go to Philadelphia. The next season, in what would be Dungy's last stand, the Bucs lost again. I walked off the field that night behind John Lynch as an eight-year-old (or so) fan leaned over the railing and spewed the most profane words you could imagine.

So, yeah, I thought the Eagles were going to win. Instead, the Bucs won 27-10, sealing the game on Ronde Barber's pick six, the best play by a Buc I've ever seen.

And the anger began. Overnight, I was an enemy of the state. Some readers thought I should be fired on the spot for not picking the local team (if you always pick the local team, what's the point?). Some thought I shouldn't be served in public restaurants. The protests went on for weeks.

I bring all of this up for one reason:

I'm about to do it again.

I think the Rams end the Bucs' season today. Oh, I know the Bucs are at home, and they have the best quarterback in the history of third downs. But I think they're too beaten up to get by the Rams.

No one should be offended, of course. The Rams are a fine team. Their receivers are healthier, their secondary is better and their defensive line is in a groove. Matt Stafford isn't Brady, but he's pretty good.

Can the Bucs win? Of course.

But if they do, it will feel like a mild upset.

Prediction: Los Angeles 28, Tampa Bay 24.

In other games:

Green Bay 27, San Francisco 14.

Tennessee 21, Cincinnati 17.

Kansas City 28, Buffalo 27.

Previous post:

Next post: