TAMPA - It's been almost four years since the Bucs last played the San Diego Chargers.
Not exactly a game to remember for Bucs Nation as Chargers QB Philip Rivers threw for 287 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions the only time he faced the Buccaneers.
In fact, SD has won eight of nine meeting between these two teams and all five games played in Tampa.
That type of trend would normally scare me off this Bucs team this week.
However, after the Bucs went to Oakland last week and broke an oh-for-ever streak, I'm more inclined to deal with the now rather than incorporate the past at this point.
The Chargers come into this game with some momentum, beating KC last week after losing three straight.
Then again, who hasn't beat KC this season. The Bucs did 38-10.
If you remember, I have been waiting for this time of the year for this football team.
I felt that the Bucs would start kicking it up a notch or two having a few months to learn the Schiano system.
Well, they have kicked it in a bit earlier, and I expect this trend to continue, barring any more major injuries or stupid decisions by any more players off the field that could lead to suspensions.
By all accounts, this game Sunday should be close and likely high scoring.
Check out the rankings of each team's offense and defense through the first half of this season:
CHARGERS OFFENSE—OVERALL (26), RUSH (20), PASS (22)
CHARGERS DEFENSE—OVERALL (9), RUSH (4), PASS (18)
BUCCANEERS OFFENSE—OVERALL (9), RUSH (9), PASS (14)
BUCCANEERS DEFENSE—OVERALL (29), RUSH (1), PASS (32)
For San Diego, losing WR Vincent Jackson has been a significant gain for TB.
Since signing a five-year, $55.55 million contract, Vincent has averaged an NFL-leading 22.9 yards per reception (31 catches for 710 yards, six touchdowns).
The Bucs have scored more than 28 points in four consecutive games for the first time in franchise history while improving to fifth in scoring at 28.3 per game.
What we do hope happens this Sunday is that the Bucs find a way to establish their run defense and then find a way to put pressure on Philip Rivers.
I expect the Chargers to put eight in the box to try and hold down Bucs RB Doug Martin, who is just tearing up defenses.
If they do, we will have a four-hour game and Philips and Josh Freeman will be icing their arms into Thursday of next week.
If nothing else, this game should be rather close, barring an unexpected rash of turnovers by either team, and entertaining to boot.
The Bucs are at home, although they are not on TV.
If we're laying stats out, the Bucs are 2 and 0 at home when the game is blacked out.
I like their chances of making it 3-0.
I'm going to take the Bucs minus the three points.
TK's Pick: Bucs -3
TK vs. Spread 4-4