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Two weeks down. 20 weeks to go for the blazing Bucs, formerly known as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Dallas Cowboys. Green Bay Packers. Seattle Seahawks. But no pundit put the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as an NFC Super Bowl contender. And they are ready to shock the world.

Not since Chucky screaming on the sidelines has Tampa Bay witnessed postseason success, let alone a taste of the Super Bowl. Their last appearance? A wildcard loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants in 2007. Their last playoff win? Super Bowl XXXVII.

But this newly minted squad is ready to shock the world. And it showed against the Bears. While Chicago is closer to being the worst team in football than a playoff team, their effort put Atlanta on cardiac arrest alert during the season opener. But a real Super Bowl contender tears apart the meek. And the Bucs thoroughly dismantled the pitiful Bears.

They just needed a culture change implemented by Lovie Smith, and accelerated by Dirk Koetter, with a quarterback of the future to change their fortunes.

The 29-7 victory displayed a well-rounded team ready to go the distance. NFL fans and critics alike witnessed a near shutout that was only tossed away in garbage time. Glennon‘s 300-yard game came mostly in the fourth quarter when the Bucs took their peg leg’s off the gas.

Jordan Howard and rookie sensation Tarik Cohen couldn’t find the line of scrimmage as a cloud of dust covered their path. The Bear’s leftovers of their receiving corps couldn’t click until garbage time. And Glennon committed three turnovers.

Meanwhile, Tampa Bay meticulously picked apart Chicago. Jameis Winston had a quiet game but committed zero turnovers, a marvel in his growth on the gridiron. While the big play mentality is always lurking in this offense, the new-look Bucs featured a more conservative game plan that ate away at the poor Bears secondary.

Doug Martin isn’t available and it didn’t matter. The committee of Jacquizz Rodgers and Peyton Barber combined for 114 rushing yards and a score.

Tampa Bay milked the clock and ruled the turf like Dallas. Winston still holds his big-play mentality that can alter a course of a football game in a flash like Green Bay. And the fearless Buccaneers defense reminded audiences of Seattle.

It is time to consider the Big Guava as a threat to represent the NFC in February. To become the third straight NFC South team to play in a Super Bowl. To be the first NFC team to win the big game since Seattle. And to win their first Lombardi since 2002.

America’s next greatest city is ready to rule the NFL in 2017.

Frank Sumrall

Author Frank Sumrall

A sports junkie and enthusiast scouring the face of the earth for signs of life for the Cleveland Browns.

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