Sure, the Bucs can get back on track in the second half, but only to an extent. The impending returns of Doug Martin and Clinton McDonald will give the team a spark, but to think that they will turn things around enough to make the playoffs is a stretch. Not only does the roster lack depth, but the schedule from here on out remains pretty tough.
The Bucs should be able to beat the Bears, but the following stretch will be scary. Tampa Bay will see top contenders in back-to-back weeks, facing Kansas City (6-2) and Seattle (5-2-1). A trip to take on San Diego (4-5) on the West Coast follows, which always gives fits. The final quarter of the season includes two matchups with New Orleans (4-4), a trip to Dallas (7-1) and then a home game against Carolina (3-5). It’s hard to see a major turnaround with that schedule.
With the defense’s current play, Tampa Bay would be lucky to win two or three games the rest of the way. While I do believe the Bucs will start playing better football soon, it doesn’t seem too realistic to expect this team to get back into the playoff conversation.