The 2017 FPI (Football Power Index) rankings from ESPN came out on June 1. According to the analytics, based on offense and defense, along with special teams, the Buccaneers will end up last in the NFC South. Last season, the Buccaneers finished second in the division and just barely missed out on the playoffs. The FPI only gives the Buccaneers a 14% chance of winning the division and a 28% chance of making the playoffs. I’m not sure where they came up with this nonsense, but if you are a true Buccaneers fan, this should INFURIATE you! During the offseason, we had completely revamped our team, particularly, adding much-needed weapons on the offensive side of the ball for Jameis Winston.
Seriously, how can you look at our roster and not respect what Koetter and the front office did this offseason? Starting with the free agency acquisitions of Chris Baker on defense and home run hitter DeSean Jackson on offense, along with stealing O.J. Howard in the draft, it’s easy to see why this could be an incredible year of growth for famous Jameis and our offense as a whole. When you have Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson opposite each other on the outside, with O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate on the inside, you aren’t going to be able to cover them all, making the possibilities for Winston, endless. Thankfully, our front office didn’t stop there. There is certainly no reason, barring injury, why our team doesn’t turn heads, start inflicting pain on our opponents and garnering the respect our Buccaneers deserve. In contrast, the preseason Power Rankings do have us at number 9, so we aren’t being overlooked entirely.
In my opinion, this is the year our Buccaneers will finally put Tampa Bay back on the NFL map, start putting fear in the hearts of our opponents and make Raymond James Stadium a place that teams are frightened to come into.2017 is year 3 for Winston, our offense is stacked, and our defense came a long way towards the end of last season under Mike Smith. With the acquisition of a great veteran defensive tackle in Baker, who very well may have been the steal of free agency, our defense will only get better. The Bucs front office is building a team we can be proud to call ours. I really don’t care what the analytics or analysts say, for that matter. Everyone is 0-0. Opinions aren’t changed nor are championships won on paper. I firmly believe we will make great strides this season towards accomplishing our ultimate goal, getting to, and winning our 2nd Super Bowl. We, as AVID Buccaneer fans know how good our team can and will be in 2017, soon, so will everyone else.
You can see the FPI rankings for yourself here: ESPN FPI Power Rankings