While we've been talking about the doom and gloom following this week's loss, the national media don't seem to have let it influence them much. The Bucs fell - but just one spot, and are now ranked 18th in the NFL on average. Of course, that would keep them well clear of the playoffs.
SB Nation - 15th (down from 14th):
The Bucs are .500 through eight games and their mettle will be tested the next two weeks against the Texans and at Green Bay.
A brutal schedule is mostly responsible for the Bucs' drop-off this season.
The Bucs are struggling to find the rhythm of last year when they ran the ball well, made big plays off of play-action passes and protected the ball. Their young defense is not progressing as well as head coach Raheem Morris had hoped, and once again they lose young defensive lineman Gerald McCoy for the season to injury.
This club must just be maddening to its fan base. Nine penalties (for 80 yards) Sunday were completely debilitating, among other issues. There's no shame in losing to a highly motivated Saints team in New Orleans, but the up-and-down nature of Raheem Morris' team is both to be expected and hard to watch. Even though most of it came in one game, there's no hiding a point differential that reads minus-49 this season.
After being in first place in the division three weeks ago, they're now in third after losing consecutive games.
This Bucs' offense has to come up with a game plan for third downs after going 2 of 12 in the loss to the Saints.
With two games to play against the Panthers, the up-and-down Bucs need to worry about ending up down in the basement of the division.
Failed in chance to make NFC South a three-horse race.
I never know what to expect from this team, so I could see them getting waxed against Houston or winning an ugly game.