In a bit of irony, the fate of two coaches could be determined Sunday when the Buccaneers play the Carolina Panthers. If favored Carolina wins, they could salvaged something from a disappointing year by breaking even with a victory next week over hapless Buffalo. With a loss to the Panthers, Tampa Bay could go winless since they won't be favored in any of their remaining games. Although Panthers coach, John Fox, has guided Carolina to a Super Bowl, the team usually follows winning seasons with losing spells; and this year is no different. Following last season's 12-4 record, Carolina is 1-3. To make matters worse, there is turmoil in the Panthers' front office with owner, Jerry Richardson's, two sons leaving after fighting over a successor. The founder is recovering from a heart transplant; meanwhile rumors persist his daughter may take over the club, or the Panthers could be sold. None of this helps Fox as Panther fans continue to blame him for this season's collapse. A lost to the rival Bucs would probably determine Fox destiny in Carolina. Bucs coach, Raheem Morris, on the other hand, would be hard pressed to keep his job if Tampa Bay goes 0-16. Consider this: during training camp, Morris pointed to the Panthers as a model franchise replete with the kind of players the Bucs should emulate. Perhaps, Morris was listening to the same guy who convinced the Indians to sell their land for 0.10 cents an acre. Of course, not all of this falls on Morris: Discontent is simmering over general manager, Mark Dominick's, decision to hire defensive coordinator, Jim Bates, whose Denver Broncos defense ranked 29Th in the league; and true to form, the Buccaneers are 29Th. Bates came under more criticism when former Buccaneer, Steve White, questioned why a coach would have former defensive end, Gaines Adams, line up on the left side for two plays, and then switch him over to right side on third down. According to White, a defensive end spends his first two plays setting up the offensive tackle for an unexpected move on third down. Clearly like so many others including Jeff Jagodinski, Bates was not thoroughly vetted during the hiring process. For all intents and purposes, the owners of the Buccaneers, the Glazers, should not get a free pass either. The family is deeply in debt after using mostly junk bonds to finance their acquisition of soccer power, Manchester United. The Glazers, moreover, have refused to sign free agents and cut payroll during the off season by releasing Derrick Brooks, Ike Hillard, as well as Cato June. More than likely, the Panthers win 24-14, and Fox lives on to fight another day. Morris, though, should spend some of his free time updating his resume.
I like the Giants to win in New Orleans, and Atlanta over the Chicago Bears.
New York Giants
New Orleans Saints