So far this season has been going exactly like I thought it would. The Buccaneers beat the bad teams and lost to the good one heading into the bye. Suck it to whoever said the Saints would take this division. That being said, I think that I was wrong about some teams when I did my schedule prediction. I of course expected this, but there was one area I may have been completely wrong about, which I wanted to discuss.
I was not wrong about the 49ers, Jesus Christ.
Whoo boy, those Panthers. I remember writing in my division winner predicting the Buccaneers and Panthers were the two teams most in flux and they would go either boom or bust. Bucs are booming right now, but the Panthers are absolutely imploding. I truly did not imagine that they would look so awful. I figured Bryce Young would be able to keep the Panthers in some of their games, but he has not looked good at all. Their run game also sucked, which they need to work with how bad their WR room has been. Adam Thielen looks like their best receiver. I’ll just let that one sink in. I thought they would split the series with them, but I think the Bucs should easily sweep them, unless they rest starters in week 18.
Though I am writing this before the Monday night game, I think I was way too high on the Packers. Even if they beat the Raiders, that isn’t actually tough competition. While I don’t think they are a bad team, they certainly are not a great one. Jordan Love has looked like a solid QB, but the rest of the team has not. The Packers run defense could make Rachaad White look like Barry Sanders and their defense as a whole looks lost on the field. While they don’t face them until week 15 (giving them time to right the ship), I have way more faith in the Bucs ability to beat them, even in Lambeau.
Now let’s get to the area in which I was horribly mistaken. I called the AFC South the clown division, and I think they took that personally. CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson look like superstars already and the Jaguars still look solid. The Colts and Texans have taken the straw that is their mediocre rosters, and have managed to turn it into gold. Their offenses look dangerous in the hands (or legs in the Colts case) of their young throwers and I think it is now likely they beat the Buccaneers. They could possibly beat the Jaguars as they don’t look as good, even beating the Bills, and I think the Titans are still mediocre.
With all this into account, my new win prediction for the season is actually higher at 9-8. If the Bucs do sweep the Panthers and beat the cheeseheads, they would gain 3 extra wins that I did not predict before. Even taking into account losing to the Colts and Texans, that is a solid season considering everyone wrote us off. While the team can always do better and worse than I predict, this seems like the most likely outcome on paper.
Make sure you check out Devin’s blog at cannoncrunch.wordpress.com.