Buccaneers Face Legitimate Threat In The NFC South


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are back to back to back defending NFC south champions. They have established themselves as the team to be in their division and the year in your out contender. A run of division crowns like this is rare amongst NFC south teams.

There’s every reason to believe that this run of dominance can continue in 2024. The Bucs added young talent to their already strong roster, and are bringing back all of their key players. They are stronger now than they have been either of the last two years.

However, the offseason narrative has not been about the Buccaneers winning the NFC south again. It has been about the Atlanta Falcons and their shiny new quarterback taking the Bucs crown. Betting odds and most media outlets predict that the Falcons will emerge from the NFC South this year and not Tampa Bay.

Keep in mind, this is the same old song and dance we heard last year. Not only did most media outlets predict the Bucs wouldn’t win their division, but they would actually be one of the worst teams in the NFL. Those predictions were clearly ridiculous, as the Bucs finished last year 9-8 and won the division again.

So will this year be the same story or will the Buccaneers streak actually come to an end? If I’m being honest the truth is a bit of both, but there is much more legitimacy to predicting that the Bucs won’t win the division this year than there was last year. 

That’s not to say that the Bucs got worse or will drop off. In fact, I believe they will win more games this year than they did last season. The idea of the Buccaneers not winning the division has a lot more to do with the Falcons improvement than it does anything to do with Tampa.

This comes down to two things. The first is the addition of Kirk Cousins. It’s always a big deal when a team signs a new quarterback, but even bigger when you are going from possibly the worst quarterback in the NFL like Desmond Ridder to a fringe top ten quarterback like Cousins.

This will obviously be a massive boost to the Falcons offense. And when you consider that Atlanta won seven games last year with Ridder, it’s logical to expect a big jump this year. That’s why I expect the Falcons to win in the ballpark of eleven games this year.

But that doesn’t make them better than the Bucs. Even with Cousins, when I compare these two teams I still see the Bucs as the better roster top to bottom. This leads me to the other big factor that works against the Buccaneers winning the division.

This would be the schedules for these two teams. As the division winner last year, the Bucs play a first place schedule which includes teams like the Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers. Whereas the Falcons have a third place schedule and will play lesser teams like the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings.

This means the Falcons have an easier path to winning double digit games than the Bucs do. This, as much as anything, is a real reason why the Buccaneers could miss out on winning the division for a fourth straight year.

Does this mean that the Falcons are going to win the NFC South? No, of course not. They have a new coaching staff and have to prove that they are the team that people think they are. But it’s totally reasonable to expect them to achieve that goal.

That doesn’t mean they’re a better team than the Bucs. In fact, if they both make the playoffs then I’d expect Tampa Bay to be the more likely team to win a playoff game. But if you were to ask me ( the guy who predicted the Bucs to win ten games last year) who I think will win the NFC South then I have a hard time picking our Pewter Pirates.

For more from J.T. click here, then make sure to follow him on Twitter.

Follow, Like and Subscribe to Bucs Report



For more on this and everything Buccaneers check back here hourly at BucsReport.com