The 2014 NFL Season was a nightmare for the Buccaneers & 2015 might see much of the same for this NFC South team despite landing Jameis Winston with the #1 overall pick in the past NFL Draft.
Let’s look at some games Tampa may win, some new faces, some trends and spots on the schedule and offer up a couple of picks—one Future Book pick and one Week 1 Total—on this Buccaneers team which ended up with the worst overall Straight Up (SU) record in the NFL last season (2-14). And we all know when it rains in South Florida, it pours.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: When Lovie Smith is Your Head Coach...
So you’re going to try to ski through the violent downhill gates of the 2015 NFL Regular Season schedule with a Rookie at QB, Tampa Bay? I have several little bottles of top-grade Holy Water I am sending your way, Buccaneers. No charge. It’s bad enough you had the worst SU record in the NFL last season (2-14) but to throw young QB Jameis Winston—the #1 overall pick in the 2015 Draft and the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner—to the wolves of the NFL just seems wrong. And although the Bucs play in the paltry NFC South, which was the butt of many jokes in 2014 after all four teams finished with records below the .500 mark, beating the dipping Atlanta Falcons (6-10), New Orleans Saints (7-9) or division-winning Carolina Panthers (7-8-1) even once may seem like progress for this franchise which went 0-6 SU in the NFC South last season and 3-3 ATS. Tampa Bay (+850 to win NFC South, Stan James) stinks to put it mildly.
And when Lovie Smith (7-9 ATS)—former Chicago Bears head man—is in charge and your Head Coach, well issues are what you are going to have, brother. The Buccaneers (150/1 to win Super Bowl, bet365) were very bad on both sides of the ball last season, were poor in Turnover Differential Margin (-8, 26th), and, despite moving on from QB Josh McCown, Tampa Bay (-133 Point Differential) will need likely years to improve and may be one of the league’s two worst teams—along with the AFC’s Tennessee Titans whom they face in Week 1 at Home in Tampa—again in 2015. This team has won just one Super Bowl (vs Raiders in 2002 in Super Bowl XXXVII) and that was probably it for this Glazer family-owned NFL franchise. Enjoy the memories and always remember to remind your Sunshine State buddies—the Miami Dolphins (14/1 to win AFC, William Hill) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (100/1 to win AFC, William Hill, BetVictor)—that you won one last and they didn’t. And it’s the Little Things when you’re the Buccaneers who’ve brought in Dirk Koetter as new Offensive Coordinator.
One positive for Tampa Bay is that Winston, if he can immediately start as an NFL QB, does have a really great pair of WRs in Mike Evans (68 receptions, 1,051 yards, 12 TDs) and Vincent Jackson (70 receptions, 1,002 yards, 2 TDs) whom he can throw to and many are expecting a breakout year for second-year TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins. But again, it will take Time and this could be a long year with the Buccaneers possibly experiencing a long losing streak and having trouble finding W’s from week 2 until Week 15. Mercy in a pewter-colored pill, please. Everyone Tampa Bay (80/1 to win NFC, Ladbrokes) plays—with the exception of maybe Tennessee in Week 1—will be expecting to beat them—and that little psychological reality is one seldom talked about when handicapping or talking about football games. Pecking orders are real in pro sports and when you’re probably the worst team in the NFC—maybe the entire NFL—once again, after 2-14 and 4-12 (2013) seasons, then you should probably expect the pecking to continue. Especially with a Rookie at QB.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Depth Chart: Jameis Winston—Mike Glennon—Seth Lobato
Who’s New and Could Have an Impact? Rookie Q Jameis Winston (Florida State), Rookie G Ali Marpet (Hobart), Rookie T Donovan Smith (Penn State), Rookie WR Kenny Bell (Nebraska), Rookie WR Kaelin Clay (Utah), Rookie FB Joey Iosefa (Hawai’i)
Possible Wins on Schedule: Week 1: Tennessee (Bucs -3, Total: 42, Pinnacle); Week 5: Jacksonville; Week 7: at Washigton; Week 16: Chicago
Some Good Potential Betting Spots in Regular Season: Fading (betting against) Tampa Bay in Week 15 at the Edward Jones Dome in the Gateway City. The Buccaneers are 1-5 L6 ATS against St. Louis—which looks to be improved this season—and could be in the depths of a long losing streak at that point in the season. Also, (betting on) the Buccaneers a week later in Week 16 when they are back at home in Tampa against the Chicago Bears in the Buccaneers last game of the season. And, the Buccaneers are 0-7 the week before an Open Date, so taking the Jaguars in Week 5 and maybe a point or three at Raymond James Stadium may be in order.
Any Good Buccaneers Bets Now? Tampa Bay Buccaneers Season Team Win Total Under 6 -140 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Buccaneers-Titans Under 42, Week 1 (Pinnacle)
Positive Relevant Trends: Buccaneers 9-4-1 L14 ATS vs Eagles; Buccaneers 1-5 L6 ATS vs. Titans; Buccaneers 1-5 L6 ATS vs. Colts; Buccaneers 1-5 L6 ATS vs. Rams.
Players to Watch: WR Mike Evans, TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Rookie OL Ali Marpet, Rookie QB Jameis Winston, DT Gerald McCoy, Rookie WR Kenny Bell
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Futures Picks: Tampa Bay Buccaneers Regular Season Team Win Total Under 6 -140 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook), Tampa Bay Buccaneers-Tennessee Titans Under 42, Week 1 (Pinnacle)