There looks to be quite a big separation from the most talented/highest record teams to the least talented/lowest record teams this year. There have only been two teams in NFL history that have finished the regular season undefeated, and only one finish the entire regular season and post season without a loss.
As we all know, the Bucs were wiped from the record books last year, in a good way. The 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the only team to go an entire regular season (then 14 games) without a win. That is, until we were graciously outdone by the 2008 Detroit Lions who went 0-16 to become the first NFL team in history to lose all 16 games in a season. The Lions last year lost 5 games by a touchdown or less and 3 games by 4 points or less. The opportunities were there.
That brings us to this years Rams, Titansand our very own Buccaneers. Currently all three teams are sitting at the zero win mark. As painful as we have it, I think we are the team of the three with the least amount of complaining to do. St Louis has lost 17 games in a row and is 4-26 in their last 30 games. The Titans have gone from Super Bowl favorites after a 13-3 2008 regular season and are now in competition for the number one pick. The Bucs, well, we all know where we stand. It's not good, but I don't think it's as bad as these other two teams.
But the question remains, will one or any of these teams go winless one year after we saw a franchise set the record for futility in one season? Here's a look at the best opportunities for each team on their remaining schedule.
Week 8 - Home vs Jacksonville. Let's face it. Jax isn't a very strong team. They were shut out by Seattle who was shut out by Arizona. The transitive property doesn't work in sports, but this could be a potential win
Week 10 - Home vs Buffalo. The Bills haven't been a strong team, but have won a few games. I don't see the Bills posing a huge threat, which means Tennessee could have a shot.
Week 14 - Home vs Rams. Well here you go. If neither team has won a game by this point, and if by a miracle they avoid a tie, one team will walk out with a victory.
Week 8 - At Detroit. The Lions have improved, but they still aren't a world beater. The Rams took Washington to the wire in a 9-7 loss and lost by 3 to the Jags. This could be a win for the Rams.
Week 12 - Home vs Seattle. Seattle has some playmakers, but as we saw against Arizona, they can throw up a goose egg. Plus, you never know if Hasselback will be healthy.
Week 14 - at Tennessee. As discussed above, someone has to win
Week 10 - at Miami. I know, I know, Miami can run the ball. I still think the Bucs have a chance here. This game should allow the Bucs to run the ball and with both teams running it (a lot), it shortens the game and maybe we get an early turnover and sit on the lead.
Week 13 - at Carolina. We came close once, though it was at home. We at least know we can play with them for three quarters. I'm hoping by the 4th quarter of this game that Jim Bates realizes the game plan of Fox and company.
Week 17 - Home vs Atlanta. If Atlanta has the playoff spot secure and sits some players, we might win. I don't think we beat them at full strength but maybe we catch them looking ahead. It's pretty sad when I resort to this.
There you go. Any team can win on any Sunday (or Monday), but if I had to predict a few games for each team, there they are. What do you think, how many teams will go winless in 2009.