Now that we're a quarter of the way through the NFL season, things are starting to settle in and we're learning which teams are contenders and which ones might want to start thinking about the draft. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were fully expected to be in the latter category of teams, with pundits pegging them as candidates to tank and many predicting them to finish at the bottom of the league.
Not so fast, my friend.
Heading into its bye week, Tampa Bay is 3-1 and sits alone atop the NFC South. Baker Mayfield is playing like a top quarterback, the offense looks nothing like it did last year, and the defense is as brooding as ever.
The hot start to the season has caused some folks to re-evaluate their offseason predictions about the Bucs.
Peter King admits he was wrong about doubting the Buccaneers
On an appearance with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on SiriusXM Radio, Peter King walked back his offseason criticism of the Bucs and went so far as to admit he was wrong for thinking they'd be the second-worst team in the league.
"I am surprised. I thought the Bucs would be awful. I’m surprised. I was wrong about them," King said. "I’m not saying they are going to win 12 — but I think easily a team that wins 9 or 10 can win that division and get a home playoff game."
King also took time to walk back his criticism of Baker Mayfield and gave him kudos for looking as good as he ever has in his career.
"Mayfield in his career, the last five years, has been totally in and out, last six years, but totally in and out. An inconsistent guy. But I think he has been probably as consistent the first month of this season than he has ever been in his career," King admitted. "He’s got decent weapons. He’s got [Mike] Evans and [Chris] Godwin. He’s got a nice running back — not a great one but a nice one. And to me, I think they are taking advantage of a weak division. And every other team in that division has looked extremely flawed."
To be fair, King was saying out loud what everyone was initially thinking about the Bucs in the aftermath of Tom Brady retiring. Things didn't look good, but Tampa Bay has proven that it has a solid foundation to build upon and wasn't just riding the Brady wave.
The New York Giants are who everyone thought the Bucs would be, but instead Tampa Bay is currently the No. 3 seed in the NFC Playoffs and a first place team. The had everyone's curiosity after a 2-0 start but are now demanding attention and respect.
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