Sep 29, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Doug Martin (22) against the Arizona Cardinals during the second half at Raymond James Stadium. Arizona Cardinals defeated the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 13-10. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Gil Brandt Says Tampa Bay Buccaneers Are Team With Best Chance to End Playoff Drought


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made a number of high profile moves during the off-season and now the question becomes whether these acquisitions can propel the Bucs into the playoffs and end their playoff drought.

NFL.com writer Gil Brandt recently analyzed the six teams with the longest playoff droughts and what chances they have of making the post-season in 2014.

The Buccaneers haven’t made the playoffs for six years, when they lost to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants, 24-14, in 2007.

Here’s what Brandt had to say:

“After a chaotic 2013 campaign, things are definitely looking up for the Bucs, who have a proven winner at head coach in Lovie Smith and a boatload of good players on the roster.

Tampa Bay had a great draft, highlighted by its first three selections; receiver Mike Evans, tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins and running back Charles Sims all should be able to contribute immediately.

The Bucs also made solid free-agency additions, including cornerback Alterraun Verner and defensive lineman Michael Johnson, to a roster that already included standouts like Gerald McCoy and Lavonte David. The return of top-notch running back Doug Martin, who missed 10 games in 2013, will be a boon.

The biggest question mark is the quarterback position, though veteran Josh McCown — another offseason acquisition — is coming off a solid season with the Bears. In short, this is a good team.

In Smith’s nine years coaching the Bears, Chicago had 310 takeaways — the most in the NFL during that span. That makes him a natural match for a Tampa Bay squad that posted a turnover differential of plus-10 last season, an excellent number augmented by 21 interceptions.

In fact, Smith is really walking into an ideal situation, with expectations relatively low and talent levels sky-high. There’s a good chance we’ll see the Bucs competing this postseason, especially if the Carolina Panthers slip back to earth in the NFC South.”

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Expectations around Tampa are high but the jury is out on whether they can make the playoffs in Lovie Smith’s first year.

They have the talent and skillset to do it but they have a tough schedule in 2014. The NFC South is arguably the toughest division in football so the Bucs will have their work cut out for them, but the division is always a carousel with teams moving back and forth in the standings each season.

The Bucs have the players and coaches in place to be a playoff team in 2014 — it just remains to be seen whether they can make that jump to a top six NFC team.

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