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Analysis: Sean Salisbury (ESPN)

By ERNEST HOOPER

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 19, 2000


The Bucs beat the Bears 41-0, and any time you get hammered 41-0, you're embarrassed. Plus, Tampa Bay is a far better football team now than they were in Week 2. But if it's cold and the weather is bad, Chicago has a chance.

The Bucs players will tell you the cold is not that big a deal, but I assure it is. The Bucs are 0-17 when the temperature is below 40 degrees, and some will say that's a coincidence, but the temperature difference could be 60 or 70 degrees when you factor in the wind chill.

I've played in warm weather and I've played in cold weather and I'm telling you the ball feels heavier. A dropped pass, a tipped ball and an interception and Chicago could end up winning 17-14.

I always think bad weather is an offensive advantage. Chicago has to be hoping for inclement weather. You want Warren Sapp and those other defenisive linemen to have a hard time getting their footing. And you hope offensive players know where they're going and the cornerbacks and linebackers don't.

Tampa Bay has to be thinking let's not do something stupid and let two or three bad plays cost us against a team we should beat. The Bucs are one of the tougher teams in the NFL, if not the toughest, and their offense is actually tailor-made for bad weather.

I think the Buccaneers are the superior football team and their enthusiasm can overcome bad weather, but I don't believe it'll be 41-0 this time around.

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