Since Sunday night, the narrative surrounding this week's game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers is that the Panthers better watch out because they'll be facing a pissed off Tom Brady after losing miserably 38-3 to the New Orleans Saints.
While that may be true, Panthers rookie defensive lineman reminded the media on Wednesday that they are just as pissed off as Tampa Bay is after falling short to Kansas City and are now on a four-game skid.
"I mean, we've lost four games now, so if you don't think we are plenty motivated then something is wrong with that. At the end of the day, you've got two pissed off teams coming in and ready to battle each other."
The rookie defensive lineman couldn't have said it any better, which is why I believe this game is going to be a lot closer than what the national media is projecting it to be. In five of the Panthers' six losses, they've only lost the game by one possession. It's not like this is a team that is getting blown out week after week and is showing no fight against some of the very best teams in the league. They went toe to toe with the defending Super Bowl champs and almost pulled out a victory on the final drive of the game. This is a group that even though at 3-6 stills believes they are very much in position to make a strong run toward the finish line in the back half of the season.
While Carolina's hopes for a spot in the playoffs continue to diminish with each loss, don't jump to conclusions that they will just lay down and wave the white flag. They are going to give Tampa Bay all they can handle and if the Panthers' defense can force a turnover or two, don't be surprised if they are able to pull off the upset. Again, a lot has to go right for that to happen, but you know they will be extremely competitive from start to finish regardless of what Tom Brady's feelings are.
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