Buccaneers ‘best-case’ prediction is actually a total nightmare scenario

Super Bowl LV
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An understatement of the offseason is saying that it’s going to be interesting to watch how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season plays out.

Without Tom Brady, nor much of a concrete plan in the wake of his retirement, the Bucs are in a prickly position when it comes to how the team’s identity will be defined moving forward. It’s truly the dawning of a new era, but what sort of chapter will it be for a franchise that has more bad memories than good ones?

Historically the Bucs fumble the bag whenever something good happens to them. The 90s/00s team experienced many false starts before winning a Super Bowl, but followed that up with almost two decades of irrelevance.

Brady coming to Tampa Bay was supposed to be a hard reset on the culture, which seemed to be the case after winning Super Bowl 55. Instead his stint ended with the future Hall of Famer logging his only losing season as quarterback and getting launched out of the playoffs on a medieval catapult.

Bucs fans know this pain all too well, and it seems like every NFL expert is predicting the team to fall into a deep crater moving forward. It’s to the point where even well-intentioned predictions can’t mask how dark things might get.

Buccaneers ‘best-case’ prediction is actually a total nightmare scenario

Pro Football Network’s Dallas Robinson recently broke down the best and worst case scenarios for the Buccaneers this upcoming season. While he didn’t pile on the way other experts have, even his best-case for the Bucs feels like a total nightmare scenario.

In Robinson’s eyes, the Bucs ceiling is an eight-win division-winning team, which is still objectively bad for a number of different reasons.

“In a best-case scenario, the Bucs could win eight games, which was enough to secure the division crown last season.” Robinson writes before dropping the other shoe. ”However, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Trask and the rest of Tampa Bay’s roster bottomed out in 2023. If the Buccaneers are among the worst teams in the league next year, they could be in a position to land a passer in what could be a historic 2024 quarterback draft class.”


Nothing about this feels good, as another season of accidentally winning the division is not ideal. Not only would it mean the Bucs are probably playoff canon fodder again but it would ruin hopes of landing a top quarterback in next year’s draft.

As bad as the NFC South is — and will likely remain this season — it’s hard to see a team with a sub-.500 record winning the division in consecutive seasons. It’s only happened twice in the history of the division, and it took seven seasons for it to happen again.

For what it’s worth, the Panthers followed up their 7-8-1 division winning season by going 15-1 and making it to the Super Bowl. So if we’re going off history, the Bucs are in for a huge year despite the doubts.

That being said, it’s still incredibly lofty to expect the Bucs to be truly competitive in 2023 unless everything goes their way. Baker Mayfield will need to have a Geno Smith-type year, the defense will need to return to its elite 2020 level, and the mistakes that plagued last season will need to be nonexistent.

It is an extremely weak conference, though, so it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the Bucs take advantage if the Eagles naturally regress, the NFC North is as chaotic as people think, the West is top-heavy and the South is once again a barren wasteland.

Still, it feels like we’re jumping through hoops for a best-case scenario that involves the Bucs being a bad team. Eight wins also puts them firmly on the outskirts of being able to dip into a highly touted quarterback class. They won’t be tanking and the staff believes the team can truly compete for a Super Bowl — which is admirable but likely mistaken.

If this best-case scenario plays out and the team limps into the playoffs with a sub-.500 record, that could be the very definition of worst-case scenario for how this season could play out.