Last year the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had a miserable 2-14 season, which was Lovie Smith's first year at the helm of the team. He is hoping for better results in his second and the Win Total for the Buccaneers has been set at 6 with juice to the Over (-115). Vegas odds have the Buccaneers listed at +700 to win the NFC South, +5000 to win the NFC Title and +10000 to win the Super Bowl. A season preview of the Buccaneers along with their 2015 Schedule are below.
Last year the Tampa Bay offense ranked 29th in scoring, at 17.3 ppg, while also ranking 30th in total yards (292.0 ypg), 25th in passing (206.1 ypg) and 29th in rushing (85.9 ypg). The Tampa offense was one of the worst in the league, so they used the first overall pick in the draft to grab Jameis Winston, who they are hoping will be their franchise QB. He has the tools to be a solid NFL QB, but it will not happen overnight, plus e is a bit of a risk thanks to his off the field antics. One good thing going for Winston is that he has a top flight WR corps to throw to. Mike Evans comes off a year in which he had 1051 yards receiving and 12 TDs as a rookie, while Vincent Jackson is back and is off his 6th 1000 yard receiving year in the past 7 seasons. The TE spot also looks very solid with Austin Seferian-Jenkins, while 5th round pick Kenny Bell and 6th round pick Kaelin Clay add solid depth. The Running game is not looking so great though as Doug Martin has been below average the last couple years and Bob Rainey is not much better. Protecting Winston is priority one and the Bucs used their 2nd and 3rd picks in the draft to upgrade their OL, but still this unit is average at best.
Defensively the Buccaneer ranked 25th in points allowed (25.6 ppg), 25th in yards allowed (368.9 ypg), 28th vs the pass (255.2 ypg) and 19th vs the run (113.7 ypg). The defense for this team has not been that good for the last few years and the Bucs really tried to upgrade their defense mostly through free agency, as all 6 of their free agent signings have come on the defensive side of the ball. I feel it has worked as each unit of the defense has been upgraded. On the line the Bucs have a pair of very talented defensive linemen in Jacquies Smith an George Johnson. Smith had 6.5 sacks last year in just 7 games, while Johnson totaled 6 sacks in Detroit last year. Gerald McCoy was rated the 2nd best rated defensive tackle in the league last year, while Clinton McDonald was 31st. Solid starting crew and they have depth as well. The LB corps is led by Lavonte David, who was rated as the 7th best outside backer last year. The other OLB will be manned by Danny Lansannah, who had 81 tackles, 3 INTs and 2 TDs last year, but he could end up splitting time with 4th round pick Kwon Alexander. Bruce carter was brought in from Dallas, but he really struggled last year, while they also added Larry Dean (Minnesota) for depth. Pass defense was abysmal last year and it has been upgraded to just average this year, with the addition of S Chris Conte and CB Sterline Moore through free agency. Conte should start and will team with Johnthan Banks and Bradley McDougald, who was very impressive in his last 5 games last year and Alterraun Verner, who was rated as 7th best corner in the league last year.
Tampa Bay was very bad last year and they have a lot of ground to make up to start contending for playoff games again, but they have made strides in the right direction this year, plus they do play in a weak division. The Offense has a very nice set of WRs, but still Jameis Winston will be in his first year, they have no running game and an averaged offensive line. The offense will go as far as Winston takes them this year and while I see improvements on that side of the ball I just don't think it will be enough in his first year. On defense ths team has improved as well, especially on the DL and at linebacker. There is plenty of solid talent in that front 7, plus they have started to build up their depth as well. The secondary is improved over last year, but still it is a very average group and you do need better than an average secondary when facing the passing offenses of this league, especially the Falcons and Saints twice. Yes improvements have been made, but I still see this as just a 5-11 team this year, which keeps them under their win total of 6.
Info Gathered From Pro Football Weekly & Athlon Sports
2015 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Schedule
Sept. 13 Tennessee Titans, 4:25
Sept. 20 at New Orleans Saints, 1
Sept. 27 at Houston Texans, 1
Oct. 4 Carolina Panthers, 1
Oct. 11 Jacksonville Jaguars, 1
Oct. 18 BYE
Oct. 25 at Washington Redskins, 1
Nov. 1 at Atlanta Falcons, 1
Nov. 8 New York Giants, 4:05
Nov. 15 Dallas Cowboys, 1
Nov. 22 at Philadelphia Eagles, 1
Nov. 29 at Indianapolis Colts, 1
Dec. 6 Atlanta Falcons, 1
Dec. 13 New Orleans Saints, 1
Dec. 17 at St. Louis Rams (Thu), 8:25
Dec. 27 Chicago Bears, 1
Jan. 3 at Carolina Panthers, 1
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