There's a simple reason Tampa Bay is a three-point favorite at Carolina this Sunday: It's the Bucs' week to win.
Since the season started, the defending Super Bowl champions have been alternating wins and losses. Location doesn't really matter, with three of the defeats at home, including a 12-9 overtime loss to the Panthers.
That game was typical of Tampa Bay's season. Carolina blocked two field-goal attempts, then what would have been the winning extra point after the Bucs scored in the final seconds of regulation.
"Certainly, you don't want to forget about a Super Bowl championship run," coach Jon Gruden says. "But we've got between 20 and 25 new guys contributing on this year's squad that weren't here then."
Carolina hasn't been able to do it either, at least not in the last three games. The Panthers have lost two and won one in overtime after starting 5-0.
But that's not why they'll lose Sunday. They'll lose because it's the Bucs' week to win.
Cleveland (plus 10) at Kansas City
The Chiefs never lose at Arrowhead; the Chiefs never lose, period -- at least not yet.
Miami (plus 5) at Tennessee
The life of Brian (Griese) doesn't get any easier.
Philadelphia (plus 4) at Green Bay (Monday night)
Brett Favre seems to play better with a broken thumb.
Buffalo (plus 4 1/2) at Dallas
The Cowboys were awful last week and still won. The Bills have been outscored 85-15 in their last three road games.
Baltimore (plus 7) at St. Louis
The Rams are back on artificial turf.
But few teams have their way with the Ravens' defense.
Minnesota (minus 5 1/2) at San Diego
The Vikings' two-game losing streak has to end here. Doesn't it?
Arizona (plus 7 1/2) at Pittsburgh
The Cardinals have been outscored 103-44 in their three road games.
Seattle (minus 3) at Washington
Will Dan Snyder start calling the Redskins' plays? Or will it be Joe Bugel, Foge Fazio or Pepper Rodgers?
Indianapolis (minus 6) at Jacksonville
Tony Dungy's teams don't usually let down.
Atlanta (plus 10) at New York Giants
The Giants' special teams can't mess up this one.
Chicago (plus 2) at Detroit
The Bears beat the Lions in Chicago and have won two in a row.
Now the Lions can get their two-game streak -- their first in three years.
Houston (plus 5) at Cincinnati
The Bengals will hand the Chiefs their first loss next week. Are they looking past the Texans?
New York Jets (minus 3) at Oakland
Herman Edwards gets a lot more respect from his players than Bill Callahan.
Last week: 9-5 (spread); 8-6 (straight up).
Season: 75-52-3 (spread), 81-49 (straight up).