The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are on a quest to win games. Preferably to win the Super Bowl, but they’ll settle for a division win or at least a playoff spot. That division win is a realistic goal, I think—and most analysts seem to think so, too.
But early projections suggest: nah. The Bucs have the third-worst Las Vegas odds in the division, per Bovada’s numbers, and Football Outsiders don’t like their chances either. Really, none of the somewhat objective (that is: model-based) projections give the Bucs much of a chance to win the division.
And yet, analysts and reporters keep praising them. Not too much—very few of them suggest the Bucs will go very far in the playoffs, for instance—but a division win is a pretty common projection. So too ESPN’s Bucs beat writer Jenna Laine, who’s the lone NFC South writer to pick the Bucs as the likely division winner.
I don’t think the Bucs are quite ready to go that far, but they should at least make it to the playoffs this year. They went 9-7 last year, albeit with a bit of luck, and seemingly improved in most of the relevant areas. Adding DeSean Jackson should give their offense a big boost, in particular.
I don’t think that’ll be enough to win the division with a tough schedule and three other franchise quarterbacks in the NFC South, but it should at least be enough to finally get a hold of a playoff spot. For the first time in a decade. Please?
Will the Bucs win the division?
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