I’ve gone on the record with my prediction before, so I’ll stick with it. I have the Bucs finishing 9-7 this year, going 5-3 at home and 4-4 on the road. The 2016 schedule is significantly tougher than last year’s, but there are a lot of reasons to believe that Tampa Bay will be a better team this year. Jameis Winston will continue to mature in year two, the offense should continue to gel and the defense has a chance to be much better.
There are some tough stretches for the Bucs this year, but they have the talent to get through them. The first five games of the season will be a huge test, but the stretch after the bye week is manageable. San Francisco, Oakland, Atlanta and Chicago are beatable opponents that Tampa Bay will see in weeks seven through 10. There are some winnable games on the schedule and a few that the Bucs could steal, so I have them at 9-7 with an outside shot at a wild card spot.