According to Jonathan Jones, a writer for Sports Illustrated, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will finish the upcoming season with a more than underwhelming 2-13-1 record. Jones published his article, in which he gives a prediction for every team on June 7th (See Article here). The Buccaneers are expected to have the second-worst record in the league, right behind the Buffalo Bills at 2-14. Here is Jones’ explanation as to why he believes Tampa Bay will disappoint again.
The Bucs were one of the most disappointing teams last season after a solid offseason and plenty of hype (some of it by yours truly). Dirk Koetter got to keep his job even though his team took a gigantic step back in 2017 on both offense and defense. Tampa Bay desperately needed pass rush help and got it in Vita Vea and Jason Pierre-Paul. But the offense had no reason to struggle like it did in Jameis Winston’s third season. Tampa Bay has finished last in the division seven of the past nine seasons, and it looks to happen again in 2018.
Jones certainly has a point when he says the Buccaneers disappointed mightily last year. Granted, a bad season might be in the books for the Bucs, again, as the division is the strongest in the NFL and the rest of the schedule looks very, very difficult as of now.
However, it is simply not true that the offense had no reason to struggle. Seriously? So the Quarterback’s throwing shoulder hurting for the most part of the season, causing Winston to even miss a few games, is no reason for offensive struggles? Having one of the worst running games in the league combined with bad pass blocking is no reason for offensive struggles? Having the worst kicking game in the NFL, which caused the Bucs to lose games, as well, is no reason for offensive struggles? This makes you believe that Jones, simply did not do his researching job very well, at least not as far as the Buccaneers are concerned.
Furthermore, Jones thinks the Buccaneers are lucky if they win one out of their first three games.
Pivotal game: Week 3 vs. Pittsburgh
Last year Tampa Bay entered a Thursday Night match against New England 2-1 with a chance to make a statement. The Bucs lost 19-14 and began their first of two five-game losing streaks. This year the Bucs start the season with the Saints, Eagles and Steelers. Good luck. The best to hope for, realistically, is a 1-2 start, and maybe that win will come against the Steelers.
That latter prediction is not far-fetched. The first three games will be tough. But all in all, a 2-win season would be very, VERY disappointing and would definitely initiate the franchise to clean house. Hopefully, that will not be necessary. Let us prove Sports Illustrated wrong.