Many believed that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were about to leap back into the playoffs after being the host of Hard Knocks. Jameis Winston’s game took a bit of a step forward, but his leadership took a drastic step back. The Bucs defense looks improved but will it be enough to bring themselves out of the cellar.
NFC SOUTH DIVISION WINNERS: +950 (Bovada)
NFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONS: +3300 (Bovada)
SUPER BOWL 53 CHAMPIONS: +7500 (Bovada)
Team Win Total: O/U 6.5 (Westgate)
Week 1 @ New Orleans (+7) Week 9 @ Carolina (+5.5)
Week 2 vs Philadelphia (+3) Week 10 vs Washington (-3.5)
Week 3 vs. Pittsburgh (+4) Week 11 @ New York (Giants) (+3)
Week 4 @ Chicago (+2.5) Week 12 vs San Francisco (+1)
Week 5 BYE WEEK Week 13 vs. Carolina (-1)
Week 6 @ Atlanta (+7) Week 14 vs. New Orleans (+3)
Week 7 vs. Cleveland (-5.5) Week 15 @ Baltimore (+6)
Week 8 @ Cincinnati (+1.5) Week 16 @ Dallas (+6)
Week 17 vs. Atlanta (N/A)
Favored in just two games looks brutal. One of the two is also against the Panthers and may swing heavy in the Panthers favor as we get closer to that week. The easier opponents will be on the road, giving the Bucs no advantage.
Key Team Additions and Subtractions
Additions – C Ryan Jensen, DE Jason Pierre-Paul, DE Vinny Curry, DT Beau Allen, K Chandler Catanzaro
Subtractions – RB Doug Martin, T Kevin Pamphile, DT Clinton McDonald, DT Chris Baker, and S T.J. Ward
Draft – DT Vita Vea, RB Ronald Jones II, DB M.J. Stewart, CB Carlton Davis, T Alex Cappa, S Jordan Whitehead, WR Justin Watson, and LB Jack Cichy
Dirk Koetter will need Jameis Winston to step up his level of game and leadership for this boat to move. He needs to revert to his previous two seasons. Last year instigating fights in NOLA and becoming a meme isn’t what you want from your franchise quarterback.
Doug Martin is gone and the majority of the work will be left to rookie Ronald Jones and Peyton Barber. This group isn’t great but Jones could be a potential stud with his skills.
The recieving core is solid. Mike Evans is unguardable in the air, while Desean Jackson still has the speed to blow by single coverage. O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate are great options for Winston but Howard needs to take the next step in his development.
The line for Winston is in serious question. Leonard Wester is hurt already, J.R. Sweezy was cut, Caleb Benenoch is missing time in camp. Evan Smith is a bright spot on this line and rookie Alex Cappa out of DII football may be the new backbones. This line is in trouble and needs to get healthy.
There may not be a better defensive line than the Bucs. Tampa Bay focused on fixing their biggest problem last year, stopping the run. Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry, and draftee Vita Vea will all be new faces along the line to joing Gerald McCoy. There is no doubt this line is vastly improved.
Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David are tackling machines in the linebacking core. However, Devante Bond will need to step up to help the other two out.
Brett Grimes continues to be useful into his later years. But outside of him Hargreaves, Justin Evans and Chris Conte will all need to improve to help from getting dominated in a strong quarterback division.
Chandler Catanzaro will take over the kicking role and hopefully solidify a major problem for the Bucs. Jacquizz Rodgers and Adam Humphries will handle the return roles and are formidable at the positions.
The Carolina Panthers may be overlooked. The offense will have a new look and the defense should be a dominate force again. The NFC South is tough but they will be in the thick of it for the year.
The offensive line is horrible. Jameis Winston will have to take a giant leap to handle the pressure he will face. The running back situation isn’t ideal for a still relatively young quarterback. The defensive line is strong and could be the best in the league but smart quarterbacks will be able to carve the secondary. This may be a real eye opening year for the front office and Winston.
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