Last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers bombarded opposing defenses through the air. They ranked first in passing yards and touchdowns, and with most of that core coming back, there is no reason this group can’t repeat if not surpass that.
Last year, the Buccaneers played an average schedule when it comes to opposing pass defenses. It’s more of the same this year. They had their fair share of “cupcake” games, like the one against Seattle and the two divisional games against the Falcons. On the flip side, games against New Orleans, Cleveland, and Baltimore are going to be “scrappy”.
After retiring and then un-retiring in the offseason, this season looks like the end of the road for Tom Brady. According to DraftKings, Brady is second, behind Justin Herbert, in odds to lead the league in passing. On the surface, this seems like common sense, but I don’t see the season going that way. Last year, Brady and the Buccaneers led the league in passing attempts, yards, and touchdowns. Even in a pass-happy league, being one dimensional will not translate to playoff wins. I believe Brady will have fewer yards, touchdowns and interceptions. Although Brady’s efficiency will be through the roof, less is more in this case.
Predicted Stat Line: 600 Attempts, 4,700 Yards and 38 Touchdowns
In a league that sees constant change and roster turnover, the true constant has been Mike Evans reaching 1,000 yards in a season. He has done it in his first eight seasons and truly shows no sign of stopping. Last year, he reached his career high in touchdowns with 14 and catch percentage at 64.9%. With no signs of slowing down, Evans will hit 1,000 yards again and be the featured red zone threat.
Predicted Stat Line: 80 Catches, 1,100 Yards, 12 Touchdowns
Last year Chris Godwin’s was on his way to his best season, until he tore his ACL against the Saints. Godwin’s skill set is unique, he plays with physicality that is unmatched and is a threat after he gets the ball in his hands. Last season, 68% of his targets were at “short” (0-9 yards) or behind the line of scrimmage and on those targets he averaged seven yards after the catch. This type of attack was a perfect match for Godwin’s game, get him the ball in space, and he will make defenders miss. I’d expect Godwin to have a huge season after returning from his injury.
Predicted Stat Line: 100 Catches, 1,150 Yards, 10 Touchdowns
The addition of Russell Gage was a bit of a surprise considering the Buccaneers’ depth at the position. That said, last year proved that you can’t have enough depth. In his last two seasons for the Falcons, Gage eclipsed 700 yards and 4 touchdowns. I predict he will get close to but still have less than those totals for the Buccaneers. Gage will see significant action early as the team awaits Godwin’s return from injury.
Predicted Stat Line: 60 Catches, 500 Yards, 3 Touchdowns
Tight End Group
Without Rob Gronkowski and OJ Howard, this group has lost some of its magic, but still has some quality players. It looks like Cameron Brate will assume the starting role, which instantly puts him in position to have a career year. Behind him are two rookies in Ko Kieft and Cade Otton. Kieft is more of a blocking specialist, so will have minimal effect in the pass game. Otton is a great receiving option who has received all sorts of praises throughout the organization and looks ready to take on a backup role.
Predicted Group Stat Line: 45 Catches, 700 Yards, 8 Touchdowns
Last year we saw a high-flying offense that shredded teams through the air, this season however looks to be different with Todd Bowles at the helm. I believe the passing attack will be more efficient and will lead to a better offense overall.
For more on this and everything Buccaneers check back here hourly at BucsReport.com.