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Steelers must not take Buccaneers lightly

After a rather shocking blowout win at Carolina Sunday night, the Steelers suddenly find themselves sitting at 2-1 with their next three opponents having a combined record of 1-8. To JP, that's a possible recipe for disaster.

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

In the NFL, you never seem to get the same results on paper as you do when two teams line up and smash each other in the mouth.

Team A is the bully on the block, bashing and bruising the local weaklings and taking their milk money or latest Archie's comic as they try to post a W against Team B.

But Team B doesn't always buy into that game plan. Despite maybe being smaller, slower and weaker, they choose to occasionally step up and throw down toe-to-toe with the big bully, taking matters into their own hands.

Today from Heinz Field, the Pittsburgh Steelers are the big bully and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the scrawny kids playing their parts in this latest NFL version of David vs Goliath.

Better hope the Bucs didn't bring a slingshot.

Having watched football closely now for almost 30 years, I've seen it all too often. The home club enters a game coming off a huge road win and has some swagger.

Their opponent, already written off for dead with an 0-3 mark and having lost their last game by 42, enters the game an 8-point underdog according to the wise guys out in Vegas.

Now it is my obligation to you, the readers of this fine Stillers web-o-site, to ask players about their upcoming opponent to see if they're taking the game lightly.

"First of all we are playing in the NFL," said Steelers corner Willie Gay earlier this week. "So each and every week you are playing good teams. There's no sorry team, everybody gets paid. Everybody is an elite athlete so you got to be ready each week."

A fair-but-standard response from Big Play. I also spoke to defensive lineman Cam Heyward about the possibility of the D suffering a letdown with three new starters on the field

"Besides the Atlanta game," said Heyward, "they are in dog fights. They averaged better than 5 yards per attempt on the ground in their first two games. That's good and we have to be ready to stop that, so the next man up has to be ready to play."

Hollywood can't script it any better.

Do I expect the Steelers to come into the game Sunday and lay an egg? No I don't. In today's NFL that doesn't happen all too often with teams of this caliber. I don't see a Ben Roethlisberger-led offense laying down against this type of team at home.

But stranger things have happened.

It would take a great effort by the swashbuckling gang from down south to win. But it would take a greater lack of effort by the Steelers to totally botch this one and fall back to .500, knowing they ought to kick a weaker opponent while they're down.

A chance to go 3-1 and keep pace with Baltimore and first-place Cincinnati is what stares the Steelers in the face today. Let's hope they don't fumble going into the end-zone.

Steelers 27 Tampa Bay 13.

John Phillips is a radio personality for 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh and a columnist for Behind The Steel Curtain. Check him out on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.

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