After going 9-7 and just missing out on the playoffs in 2016-17, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers took another step backwards last season in going 5-11 and 6-9-1 against the spread to bring up the rear of the AFC South standings. That makes it one winning and one losing season for Dirk Koetter and his staff. This season is no doubt a make or break one for the head coach with him currently holding the third shortest odds ( +516 ) to be the first head coach fired during the regular season.
As you would expect, the NFL betting markets are bearish on this team once again entering the regular season. Tampa Bay currently owns a season win total of 6.5 with the over paying out plus-money. Heavy juice is riding the under with the Bucs predicted to finish last in the division with the NFC South once again expected to be one of the toughest divisions in the game. It’s possible three teams go to the playoffs once again, and my money says Tampa Bay doesn’t sniff that trio.
On top of that, they get the AFC South and NFC East with the two extra games coming against the Chicago Bears and Washington Redskins. Split the last two, and it’s tough to see where six more wins are coming from!
The setting is so volatile in Tampa Bay right now that a match could light the whole thing up in flames. The Jameis Winston debacle aside, this team simply just isn’t good enough or coached well enough to do much of anything in such a tough division. When on the field, Winston has dazzled at times and been truly awful as well. There is no happy medium with this guy. Should he escape any sort of suspension from yet another poor decision made off the field, he’ll have plenty to prove in a contract year. The Talent is there, but are the brains?
If that’s not enough, the schedule is flat out brutal! If Winston is forced to miss the first three games, it’s not like they’d win any of the three anyway with them lined up against the Saints, Eagles and Steelers.
The offensive and defensive lines were shored up this past offseason. There should be some significant improvement with both groups. Especially if No. 1 draft pick Vita Vea can shut the run game down and Ronald Jones can put a spark in to a Bucs ground attack that ranked No. 27 in the league a year ago.
While the schedule opens up a bit down the stretch, I question whether the team can weather the storm it’s about to face the first month of the season. The club is seriously staring at an 0-5 record before hosting the Browns in week 7. By that point, it’s highly possible the coach is already fired and the team already gave up. For that reason alone, I don’t recommend getting involved with any Bucs’ futures in 2018. There’s just way too many unknowns.
Week 1: Buccaneers at Saints, Sunday, September 9, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 2: Eagles at Buccaneers, Sunday, September 16, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 3: Steelers at Buccaneers, Monday, September 24, 8:15 p.m. ET – ESPN
Week 4: Buccaneers at Bears, Sunday, September 30, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 5: Bye Week
Week 6: Buccaneers at Falcons, Sunday, October 14, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 7: Browns at Buccaneers, Sunday, October 21, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 8: Buccaneers at Bengals, Sunday, October 28, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 9: Buccaneers at Panthers, Sunday, November 4, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 10: Redskins at Buccaneers, Sunday, November 11, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 11: Buccaneers at Giants, Sunday, November 18, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 12: 49ers at Buccaneers, Sunday, November 25, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 13: Panthers at Buccaneers, Sunday, November 29, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 14: Saints at Buccaneers, Sunday, December 9, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 15: Buccaneers at Ravens, Monday, December 17, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 16:Buccaneers at Cowboys, Sunday, December 23, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
Week 17: Falcons at Buccaneers, Sunday, December 30, 1 p.m. ET – FOX
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