Just asking: How good do you expect Bucs to be?

by Gary Shelton on June 19, 2018 · 6 comments

in general, NFL, Tampa Bay Bucs

Will Winston be a positive or a negative...or both?/CARMEN MANDATO

Will Winston be a positive or a negative...or both?/CARMEN MANDATO

Monday, 3 a.m.

In the upcoming football season, Sports Illustrated predicts great things for the Tampa Bay Bucs.

For instance, the publication thinks the Bucs will win a game.

And another one.

And tie one more.


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Forget the draft. Forget free agency. Forget the trades. This year, SI predicts, the Bucs will win exactly half (2 1/2) of the games they won a year ago. They will be, the prediction says, the second-worst team in the NFL, only a half-game behind the Buffalo Bills.


Of course, it should be mentioned that the NFL.com website says that the same Bucs will make the playoffs this year. They'll give you five reasons why, including Jameis Winston, Mike Evans and Cameron Brate , Ronald Jones II, the defense and the improved kicking.

So, double-whee.

The truth of it is that no one really seems to know just what the Bucs will do this season. They played a lot of one-score games last year with a lousy defense and an injured Winston and wobbly kicking, so you decide.

A couple of things: One, the easiest thing to predict in the NFL is that a team will finish in the neighborhood of what it did a year ago. So when most predictions have the Bucs between 6 1/2 wins (Las Vegas bookmakers, ESPN, etc) and 7 1/2 (Forbes), well, it's what you would expect from a national publication. (Bleacher Report suggests seven wins).

But Sports Illustrated? SI says the bottom falls out for the Bucs. Imagine how ugly a 2 win, one tie season would be The coaching staff probably gets blown up. The fans argue over whether Jameis Winston should continue at quarterback The defensive reinforcements are just the latest faces to line up.

The question remains, however.

How good will the Bucs be in 2018?

Imagine an orchestra where half of the performers are new. That's kind of the lot with the Bucs. How soon will Jason Pierre-Paul and Vinny Curry mesh. How good will Vita Vea be in his first season? Can Ronald Jones II become an every-down back. Can the Buc finally treat DeSean Jackson like he's a special player? When will Jameis Winston's turnovers cease? Can the offfensive line mesh? Can the corners cover? Are the safeties good enough.

And on and on it goes. The good teams deal in answers. This one seems to deal in questions.

Everywhere, it seems, the Bucs are picked for last in their division. Part of that is that New Orleans, Atlanta and Carolina are all pretty good. Overall, the Bucs have the NFL's fourth-toughest schedule (Detroit and New Orleans are one game tougher; Green Bay is two games tougher.)

But two wins?


If Pierre-Paul and Curry aren't too old, and if Carlton Davis and Jones II aren't too young, that seems like a low bar. The Bucs aren't a powerhouse, but they do have the look of an average team. Wishing for the playoffs doesn't seem like too much of a stretch.

Does it?



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