Tampa Bay Buccaneers (10-6 SU, 10-5-1 ATS, 3rd Place in NFC South)
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers really arrived a year beyond scheduled last year when they finished at 10-6 and right on the cusp of the postseason. It’s been a puzzling offseason though, which makes things very questionable for the Pirate Ship this season.
The Bucs are clearly going in the right direction with an incredibly young team led by QB Josh Freeman. Freeman took some big time steps in his second season with the squad last year, throwing for 3,451 yards and 25 TDs against just six INTs. He also had 364 rushing yards, one of the top marks amongst QBs. Freeman’s maturity is a crucial step in the goals for this team going forward.
The running back spot, one that was a gigantic mess for three seasons, has now been won by RB LeGarrette Blount, who had 1,007 yards in spite of the fact that he only had 13 games, seven of which were starts. Blount, the former Oregon Duck, is expected to have a big time season as one of the primary ball carries this season, though RB Cadillac Williams could still have an impact.
DB Aqib Talib stepped right in and picked off six passes to lead the team. There were a number of young members of this unit, and DE Adrian Clayborn and DE Da’Quan Bowers will surely add to the mix after the NFL Draft this past season.
After the lockout ended, the Bucs were one of the teams that had to spend a whole heck of a lot of money. We understand that they didn’t really want to mess with the way that the team was built by bringing in grizzly veterans, but instead of adding anyone, they just elected to continue to resign their own players. Perhaps that was a good move for the future, but for right now, we definitely have concerns.
Tampa Bay will obviously only go as far as its youth takes it. Right now, that youth looked to be playing beyond its capabilities in a 10-win campaign last year. We don’t expect to see the same this season. An 8-8 year would be acceptable and something that the Bucs should be striving for.
2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Predictions: 8-8, 3rd Place NFC South
Aaron Ryan has been in the sportswriting biz since the late-90s, and he has worked side by side with some of the best and brightest in sports gambling. Always searching for the best trends in sports, Andrew uses his brilliant math mind to his advantage to beat the books.