As players begin reporting for training camp, record predictions from media outlets around the country are pouring in one after the other. The latest comes from USA Today, who has high hopes for the Buccaneers.
For once, the public seems to love the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season. After an encouraging 2016 campaign and an aggressive off-season plan, the Bucs have become media darlings, and are widely believed to be on the verge of breaking out this season. USA Today is apparently among that group of believers.
On Tuesday, the sports section of USA Today unveiled their annual record predictions for all 32 teams in the NFL, and for the Buccaneers they envision a playoff berth for the first time since 2008 when Jeff Garcia and Earnest Graham lost to Eli Manning and the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants. Nine long, miserable years of no playoffs will come to an end in 2017, according to USA Today.
In my opinion, a 10-6 record sounds just about right for the Buccaneers. Ten wins would be the most for the team since 2010 when they narrowly missed the playoffs, but usually ten will be enough to make the dance. When you look closely at the Bucs roster they are very much a ten win type of team. They’re not quite the dominant type of roster that can get twelve or thirteen wins, but they’re also plenty talented enough to beat last years record of nine wins. Ten wins is a “safe” prediction for the Buccaneers, and when you look at the Bucs schedule, more than attainable.
Schedule analyzing in July is pointless in the same way that going fishing in a retention pond is, but we’re going to do it anyway because even pointless fishing can be fun. The Bucs start off their season with the Dolphins, Bears and Vikings, and later on in the year have games versus the Bills, Jets and Lions. If the Buccaneers are really worth their mettle then they’ll be able to snatch victories from a pool of tough opponents like the Patriots, Packers, Giants and Cardinals. Within the NFC South the Buccaneers have more than enough talent to split with Atlanta and perhaps sweep one of Carolina or New Orleans. In all, we can definitely see a realistic path to ten wins, if the team plays to its potential on paper.
So, a big time news establishment has predicted playoffs and ten wins for the Buccaneers, but what say you, Bucs fans? Is the USA Today too ambitious, or are they underselling the teams’ potential? Let us know in the comments!