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Analysis: Fox TV's Ron Pitts

By ERNEST HOOPER

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 17, 2000


It's a long season and there's so many things that can happen, but if you are going to pick five teams with the best shot of going to the Super Bowl, Tampa Bay would definitely be one of my five.

The Bucs work great as a team. They're like an army. Each side knows what the other side has to do. The defense knows it has to annihilate the offense, not give them any hope and give the offense great field position. The knows it has to get the ground assault going and give the defense a rest.

Chemistry is another important thing with the Bucs. I was talking to Tony Dungy and he said they look just as much at the chemistry and personal side as the physical talent. That's the great thing about guys like Keyshawn Johnson, Jeff Christy and Randall McDaniel. They're from programs that are used to winning. They expect to win and be there every year. That kind of stuff you can't measure.

Overall, the Bucs the defense is doing an outstanding job and you have to give so much credit to defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin. They keep it smart, keep it simple and make great use of the talent flying around there.

But Detroit has a huge confidence builder because Charlie Batch is back as the starter. That goes a long way for them.

The Lions defense at home is tough. There's something about them being at home with the crowd. As far as the Bucs offense, there's no substitute for a good running game. Detroit will try a fair number of blitzes early to try to confuse Shaun King, but that won't come into play unless the Lions stop the run.

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