TAMPA — The Bucs have gone 37 days without a victory, all the Halloween candy has been eaten, the turkey is thawing and they're about to deck the halls.
Though his team hasn't won since Oct. 16 — losing four straight to fall to 4-6 overall and three games behind the NFC South-leading Saints — Raheem Morris and his players believe they can beat every opponent between now and Jan. 1.
'Tis the season for believin'.
"We're 4-6 and I know we still have a chance," running back LeGarrette Blount said Monday. "We split with the Saints and we beat Atlanta. We have to win out the rest of the way and that's our plan. We still have a chance of going 10-6."
Talk about a race to 10.
Considering that the Bucs are also three games behind Chicago and Detroit in the wild-card race — and own no tiebreakers since they lost to both teams — Tampa Bay would have to win its remaining six games just to match last season's 10-6 record.
The Bucs showed signs of life Sunday in a 35-26 loss at the Packers.
Also, their schedule will get easier after a stretch of six games with teams that are a combined 47-13. The Bucs won't play a team with a winning record the next three weeks — at Tennessee (5-5), Carolina (2-8) and at Jacksonville (3-7).
"I told them we have six more and … we've got to knock off one at a time," Morris said. "You've got to play each game and there's still time to get hot. We can still finish with the same record we had last year if we got our minds right and we go out and play hard and fast, physical and smart. Those are things that can happen for us. We've got to go out there and think that way every time we approach the field and every time we go out there."
Morris has demonstrated he is willing to defy long odds.
Against the Packers, he tried two unsuccessful onside kicks, one with the Bucs trailing 28-26 with 4:25 remaining and two timeouts. The decision backfired after Aaron Rodgers hit Jordy Nelson on third down for a 40-yard touchdown pass.
The Bucs had nine penalties, including six on third down.
"Obviously not the outcome or the result that the team wanted," Morris said. "They played hard. They played fast. They played physical. We've still got to play smarter — still too many penalties."
While Morris knows winning the final six games won't be easy, he believes it's possible.
"There's no doubt in my mind," Morris said. "I said to you guys early on, our goal was to win the division. We came out hot, hit a little sinkhole right here and now it's time to come running out of that thing and get ready to go play. I've got a lot of confidence in those guys in that locker room that they will. They're upbeat, they want to win, they enjoy winning more than they're afraid to lose. They're taking on the personality of their quarterback that way and that's what we got to go out there and do."