Sunday was a measuring stick test for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to see just how good the team really is.
They failed that test rather spectacularly.
Nothing went right for the Bucs in Week 6, but once again the team only had themselves to blame. Just like the loss to Philadelphia three weeks ago, Tampa Bay failed to get any momentum going and didn’t establish a rhythm. Mike Evans was dropping passes, the secondary got worn out and eventually broke down, and the game got away from the Bucs in the second half.
Unlike the Eagles loss, the Bucs weren’t expected to be so outmatched and outclassed — which they were at almost every level by Detroit.
This game was going to tell us a lot about the Bucs, but what we learned was they’re a miles behind the true contenders in the NFC. Detroit absolutely manhandled Tampa Bay on every level, as Baker Mayfield was under constant pressure and forcing throws, and the defense got sliced up by Jared Goff and Ben Johnson.
The Bucs were humbled.
All is not lost, though. Sunday’s loss stings and it’s another red mark against the team being taken seriously, but the season is far from over. Tampa Bay’s tough stretch is only just beginning, and there’s still time to both correct what needs to be fixed and re-establish themselves as a team that deserves respect.
That all starts with continuing to make inroads in the NFC South.
Updated NFC South standings after Week 6
Here's a look at how the division stacks up after everything that happened on Sunday:
At this point, the Panthers are pretty much out of it, which is objectively hilarious because they won’t get rewarded for being awful. Carolina’s first round pick belongs to the Chicago Bears. New Orleans is still a threat, but a loss to Houston in Week 6 sets them back a bit. The Saints are now two games behind the Bucs thanks to how things went two weeks ago.
Next week's game against the Falcons is huge, because it's for the NFC South division lead. If the Bucs lose, they'll drop to second place but will also lose the first half of a potentially important tie breaker with Atlanta.