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HIS BOLD PREDICTIONS

So, two years ago, I picked the Bucs to go 5-10-1, and they finished 9-7 and made the playoffs. Last season, I again picked them to go 5-10-1, and they went 9-7 and missed the playoffs. This season, it's time to switch up. Picking them to go 5-10-1 just isn't working. So here's a week-by-week breakdown of the season, and let's just see what kind of record the Bucs will have in 2009.

Game comment prediction Record
Today vs. Dallas The Bucs' all-time record in season openers is 13-20, and in 13 regular-season and playoff games against the Cowboys, the Bucs are 3-10. Unless Jessica Simpson shows up in a Tony Romo jersey and puts the curse on the Cowboys, the Bucs' losing ways in season openers and against the 'Boys continue. Cowboys, 27-13 0-1
Sept. 20 at Buffalo Here's good news: The Bucs have never lost a regular-season game in Buffalo. Then again, they haven't won there, either. Hard to believe, but they've never been to Buffalo in the regular season. At least there won't be 8 inches of snow on the ground when they get there. Bucs, 17-16 1-1
Sept. 27 vs. N.Y. Giants I never knew there were so many synonyms for the word "annihilate." We counted 37, including personal favorites "obliterate," "quash" and "slaughter." Pick any and it will fit. Giants, 38-7 1-2
Oct. 4 at Washington The U.S. president always welcomes sports champions to the White House. In this rough economy where the little guy is taking his lumps, wouldn't it send a nice message if Barack Obama hosted a team like the Bucs? It would at least make the trip worthwhile. Redskins, 20-10 1-3
Oct. 11 at Philadelphia The hope was that this might be one of those annual games when Eagles QB Donovan McNabb goes color-blind and throws six interceptions. But with Michael Vick available to play, the Bucs defense could be thrown to the dogs. (Thank you, ladies and germs; I'll be here all week, and be sure to tip your waiters and waitresses.) Eagles, 23-13 1-4
Oct. 18 vs. Carolina Watching the Bucs play the Panthers is like going to the dentist. You have to go twice a year and you can't wait to get it over with. The games are boring, the Panthers' uniforms are ugly, and their logo is goofy. These games are just annoying. Panthers, 19-16 1-5
Oct. 25 vs. New England (in London) It's bad enough that the Bucs are going to get their hindquarters kicked in by the Patriots, but they have to go all the way to England to have it done. And, by the way, Bill Belichick, you're representing America. Don't dress like you're going out to change the oil in your car. Patriots, 42-10 1-6
Nov. 8 vs. Green Bay The Bucs will be coming off a bye week, while the Packers will be coming off what figures to be an emotional game against the Vikings and QB Brett Favre. Maybe the Packers will need a week to regroup. Then again, the Bucs will be jet-lagged. Tie, 3-3 1-6-1
Nov. 15 at Miami When the schedule came out, I figured this was a loss. But, geez, did you see how bad the Dolphins' first-team offense was against the Bucs in the preseason? With QB Josh Freeman, right, making his first NFL start, the Bucs win. Bucs, 24-20 2-6-1
Nov. 22 vs. New Orleans Aside from those in New Orleans, do you know anybody who likes the Saints? Think about it. You can easily find fans of just about every team, even bad teams like the Raiders and Browns and Chiefs. But do you personally know anyone who likes the Saints? Saints, 21-17 2-7-1
Nov. 29 at Atlanta The only satisfaction that local fans can have is knowing the Gators will have beaten up Georgia. But as far as the pros go? Falcons, 23-10 2-8-1
Dec. 6 at Carolina Ah, blast it, another game against the Panthers. Paint the walls and watch them dry instead of watching these teams play for the 416th time. Bucs fans might want to avoid it anyway. Panthers, 28-13 2-9-1
Dec. 13 vs. N.Y. Jets So we'll hear all week about how Bucs rookie QB Josh Freeman stacks up against Jets rookie QB Mark Sanchez, whom Jets fans already have going to the Hall of Fame. Take it easy, Gang Green. Even Troy Aikman and Peyton Manning struggled in their first season. Bucs, 26-13 3-9-1
Dec. 20 at Seattle The Bucs have won only two of nine games against their expansion cousins, but one of those was last season. Then again, that game was in Tampa. This game is in Seattle, which must seem like travelling to the moon at this point in the season. Seahawks, 20-0 3-10-1
Dec. 27 at New Orleans The Bucs' past seven games at New Orleans have been settled by seven points or less. By this point, either the Saints will be in the playoffs or too busy pointing fingers for why they won't make the playoffs. Bucs, 20-17 4-10-1
Jan. 3 vs. Atlanta The Falcons will rest their starters for the playoffs, and that means a victory. And, sorry, I lied: The Bucs will finish 5-10-1. Bucs, 7-3 5-10-1

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