We're now over a quarter of the way into the NFL season, and things couldn't be going better for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
After an offseason of getting dumped on and written off, the Bucs are 3-1 and are in sole possession of first place in the NFC South. Baker Mayfield is playing like a top quarterback in the league, the defense seems to be back to being elite, and everything is clicking in ways experts weren't predicting.
Not too bad for a team that was supposed to tank.
The good times are rolling, but there's still plenty of work that needs to be done. Not only is there a lot of road left in the season, but there are areas the Bucs need to clean up if they want to keep shocking the world on its revenge tour.
Dave Canales has seemingly turned the offense around, but the run game is still a bit concerning. Through the first four weeks things are only marginally better than they were last year, although any improvement is a step in the right direction. Rachaad White hasn't yet popped in a breakout year and it's been tough sledding for fan-favorite Sean Tucker. The run game has shown flashes, but we're going to need to see much more out of the unit moving forward.
Another cause for concern is depth, something that has been tested so far this season. The secondary has been pushed to the absolute limit, with Jamel Dean missing last week's win over the Saints and Carlton Davis only having played in two games so far. Mike Evans left Week 4 early with a hamstring injury and the thinness of the Bucs roster is already proving a challenge.
Still, it's hard to not enjoy these good times as they roll. The team is unexpectedly in first place and are in control of their season in ways nobody saw coming.
What time do the Tampa Bay Buccaneers play today? (October 8, 2023)
Unfortunately, we're going to have to wait to see the good times continue to roll. This week is the Buccaneers bye week, which means the team won't be playing a game on Sunday.
It's much-needed rest, though, especially when considering the aforementioned issues with roster depth. A week off means time for guys to rest up and get healthy for a playoff push, something that begins next week with a tough matchup against Detroit.
The Lions will roll into Tampa Bay for the Bucs creamsicle game, an affair that has already been flexed out of the early window and moved to the FOX Game of the Week slot. It's quite the endorsement from the league for both teams, as the Lions are having as good of a season as the Bucs -- if not better.
After that the Bucs get games against Atlanta and Buffalo, both of which will be tests in their own ways. The Bills are one of the best teams in the league, while the Falcons might be fighting for their playoff lives in Week 7.
Upcoming Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule
Here's a look at the Buccaneers upcoming schedule after their bye week this Sunday:
vs. Detroit Lions
Week 7 (TNF)
vs. Atlanta Falcons
at Buffalo Bills
at Houston Texans
vs. Tennessee Titans
at San Francisco 49ers
at Indianapolis Colts
vs. Carolina Panthers
at Atlanta Falcons
at Green Bay Packers
vs. Jacksonville Jaguars
vs. New Orleans Saints
at Carolina Panthers