Buccaneers expected win total in 2024 is a total joke, and misses the point

After a stellar offseason in free agency and the draft, Tampa Bay is still projected to disappoint and lose the NFC South Division to their rivals.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

For the last two months, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have made several impactful and notable moves in free agency and the draft to set themselves up for success in 2024. Above all, Tampa Bay managed to re-sign free agents Baker Mayfield, Mike Evans, Lavonte David, and Antoine Winfield to long-term deals, while adding Jordan Whitehead, Bryce Hall, Sua Opeta, Ben Bredeson, and Justin Skule in free agency.

With seven picks in the 2024 NFL Draft, general manager Jason Licht and the Buccaneers' front office complied a promising draft class. From Duke's Graham Barton and Alabama's Chris Braswell to Washington's Jalen McMillan and Oregon's Bucky Irving, Licht and Co. found impact players in all seven rounds in positions of need and improvement.

While the offseason has slowed to a near halt in terms of player movement and signings, the 2024 NFL season is still over 100 days away. That didn't stop the NFL from releasing its full 272-game schedule for next season on May 13, including all 32 teams' schedules.

Buccaneers expected to flop in 2024 based on Over/Under win total

As with anything, the announcement of the schedule brought a lot of frustration from fans and analysts who didn't agree with their teams' path to the playoffs. Upon the Buccaneers' released schedule for 2024, the consensus has mostly been positive as Tampa Bay holds the sixth-easiest schedule in the NFL.

That statement can be misleading, however, as the Bucs have a four-game stretch against the Ravens, Falcons, Chiefs, and the 49ers. After their week 11 bye, Tampa Bay plays four of their next five games on the road.

Even so, the bar has been set shockingly low for the Buccaneers to remain atop the NFC South next season. Per BetMGM Sportsbook, Tampa Bay has an over/under of 7.5 wins for this season, but is favored with -149 odds to go over that total.

Regardless, that total is quite low in comparison to the rest of the NFC South. Atlanta leads the division with a 9.5 o/u total, followed by New Orleans' 7.5 and Carolina's 4.5. Even after finishing 2023 with a 9-8 record, their third straight NFC South Division title, and advancing to the NFC Divisional round, Tampa Bay is still given the same win total as New Orleans, and two games worse than Atlanta?

There are obvious concerns about the Buccaneers replicating their success from last season, such as the departure of offensive coordinator Liam Coen to Carolina and the losses of Devin White and Shaq Barrett in free agency. That said, Tampa Bay still returns with their core roster intact and several impact players ready to make a splash.

Yes, Atlanta did improve a lot this offseason, highlighted by the signings of veteran quarterback Kirk Cousins and wide receiver Darnell Mooney, while trading Desmond Ridder for Rondale Moore. A favorable schedule does help Atlanta in this discussion, but Cousins is 35 years old and coming off a brutal ACL tear midway last season.

As for New Orleans, the Saints are still employing journeyman Derek Carr at quarterback, who has regressed tremendously from his days as a Raider. If Carr struggles, New Orleans could turn to fifth-round pick Spencer Rattler under center, who may join Taliese Fuaga and Kool-Aid McKinstry as instant-impact rookies for the Saints.

As the start of the 2024 season continues to get closer, it becomes more and more puzzling for pundits to have Tampa Bay flopping next season while being outpaced by Atlanta and New Orleans in the division.

Only time will tell, but the Buccaneers have all the motivation to win their fourth-straight NFC South Division title and return to the top of the NFC.

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