The kickoff to the 2018 National Football League season is now less than a 100 days away and that means it is time for prognosticators to make preseason projections.
On Tuesday, ESPN’s annual Power Index Rankings were released and the publication does not think highly of the Bucs chances to succeed in the 2018 season. In fact, ESPN predicts that Bucs will finish dead last in their division.
The FPI’s prediction is bad news for team General Manager Jason Licht and head coach Dirk Koetter who both may need a playoff run by the team to retain employment for another season. The Bucs are rated as the 22nd best team in the league by the publication and has been given a 10% chance of making it to the playoffs. The Bucs odds of reaching the playoffs in the opinion of FPI is higher only than the Cleveland Browns and Arizona Cardinals.
The offseason overhaul of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive unit has been much publicized by the team but has not impressed the prognosticators that produced ESPN’s FPI. The publication has rated the defense 28th in the league. The offense, which is led by star quarterback Jameis Winston is predicted to be in the middle of the pack.
NFL schedule makers obviously did the team no favors as they have the toughest schedule in the NFL. Nine of the team’s games this year would be against teams rated in the top ten by the FPI.
The good news for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the report is that the team has a near 30% chance of landing a top-five pick in next year’s National Football League draft.
Players and coaches with the team do not take these predictions seriously and understand it is merely fun for fans. In fact, the Buccaneers organization is optimistic about the team’s prospects for the upcoming season and are expecting to see a great improvement over last year’s defensive performance.
Justin Evans, a second year player as a safety with the team expressed that there is a big difference in team chemistry with the defense than was present with the team a year ago. Evans says that the defensive coaching philosophy entails the unit improving in all aspects of their play.