They say that history repeats itself, but for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers you don't have to look back that far to see the cycle restarting.
Before the season the Bucs were expected to tank for a top draft pick and generally be an afterthought while the real teams went to work. Tampa Bay answered that criticism by starting the season 3-1 before falling into the trap of becoming the team everyone thought they'd be.
After a gnarly 1-6 stretch following the bye week, the Bucs have managed to win back-to-back games for the first time since September and are once again in the driver's seat of the NFC South.
Neither of those wins came against good teams, but the spark the Bucs have shown has turned the tide on how national pundits are talking about them. With the playoff race heating up, Tampa Bay is turning heads the right way.
'Football Night In America' crew praises Bucs as sleeper team in NFC
Wrapping up the weekend of action, NBC's Football Night In America crew -- sans the fantastic Maria Taylor -- praised the Bucs and gave them their flowers after getting back into first place. Mike Florio went so far as to call them the most dangerous team in the division and a team to watch moving forward.
"Nobody is really paying attention, we just sort of wrote the Bucs off in October. They, I think, are the most dangerous team in [the NFC South]," Florio said.
He wasn't alone in praising the Bucs. Jason Garrett also threw his hat in the ring, calling Tampa Bay the best team in the NFC South.
"I think they're the best team of the ones remaining. They're better than New Orleans and they're better than Atlanta," Garrett said. "The strength of that team for a while has been the defense. Todd Bowles has done a great job, so they have the components on the other side of the ball."
Both Devin McCourty and Matthew Berry opined that the Bucs might be a team others don't want to matchup against in the playoffs. It's safe to say the conversation about this team has done another 180, and it's hard to not get whiplash on this ride while hanging on for dear life.
Whether or not the Bucs remain consistent and manage to continue this run is yet to be seen. Tough matchups against the Packers and Jaguars in back-to-back weeks won't make things easy, but let's take a moment to appreciate how much a team that was expected to tank before the season is getting praised as 'dangerous' with four games left to go.