The Bucs didn't play this week. I expected them to fall down the power rankings because of that: out of sight, out of mind. Yet somehow, that didn't happen. Instead the Bucs are still ranked 17th on average, and any changes in individual polls were small. Somehow, though, the Bucs are still ranked below the Saints and Falcons - teams they both beat.
SB Nation - 14th (up from 15th):
The Saints lose two of three and the NFC South looks interesting again.
The Bucs haven't hit their stride, but they're lurking a half-game back in NFC South with a 2-0 division record.
The Bucs are dealing with the heightened expectations from last season, but QB Josh Freeman has to keep the offensive profile they previously built by limiting the turnovers. The young and talented DL has to put more pressure on the QB. Currently they are 29th in the league in sacks.
Bye week blues in Tampa, especially coming off a frustrating loss across the pond. So what's next? Our Jason LaCanfora said on "NFL Fantasy Live" on Sunday that he expects LeGarrette Blount to be a big part of the offense down the stretch. If he can be a workhorse that averages five yards per carry like he did down the back half of 2010, then this could still be a playoff team, especially with the Saints crapping the bed in St. Louis. Tampa is one of those teams that needs to win with the old-school formula: Run game and defense.
Coming off the bye, it's still hard to get a handle on this team. They've lost two of the last three, but beat New Orleans in between. Maybe that's not as big a victory as we think.
Saints and Panthers losing makes for a great bye week in Tampa.
The Bucs come off the bye and head to New Orleans for a crucial divisional game.
A "show-me" game this Sunday for Freeman in New Orleans.
Josh Freeman and Bill Snyder compared notes this week on how to win close games and get blown out in others.