The NFL is one of the most competitive and popular professional sports leagues in the world. Each year, fans and experts from around the world try to predict who will be in contention for playoff spots and a trip to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately for many, predicting the NFL can be very challenging as teams seem to rise and fall in the overall rankings very quickly. One team that has continued to be evidence of this so far this year have been the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Heading into the 2017 NFL season, many people expected that the Buccaneers would be one of the top teams in the NFC. This came after a very good 2016 season that saw the team finally reach the .500 level and play some of the best competition in the league. Along with that, the Buccaneers continued to see positive growth from young stars on the team, including quarterback Jameis Winston and wide receiver Mike Evans.
Due to the continued growth and success of the team in 2016, many predicted that Tampa Bay would end up winning the very challenging NFC South division. This was despite the fact that the division is also the home to the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers, which are the past two NFC Champions, and the New Orleans Saints, which is always a good team. While there were a lot of positive predictions for the team, it does not appear that this will be the year for the Buccaneers (http://www.espn.com/blog/tampa-bay-buccaneers/post/_/id/18926/buccaneers-free-fall-continues-with-fourth-straight-loss).
As the league continues to approach the midway point of the season, the playoff picture is beginning to take form and the Buccaneers appear to be well out of it. Through their first seven games, the Bucs have a record of 2 wins and 5 losses. Furthermore, they seem to be heading in the wrong direction by losing their last four games. At this point, they are several games behind the first place Saints and are losing ground behind the other divisional teams as well. Also, if they are going to compete later on this year, it could be without Winston. Winston reportedly is suffering from a sprain in his shoulder and the team is considering putting him on the sideline for the next few games to allow it to recover.