Buccaneers face largest point spread since 1996 against Seahawks

Steve Dykes

The gamblers of the world don't think much of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' chances against the Seattle Seahawks.

On one cold October day in 1996, the 1-6 Tampa Bay Buccaneers took on the 6-1 would-be Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Bucs were 17.5-point underdogs that day, but it was the start of Tony Dungy's reign. That day, the Bucs didn't win -- but they kept that explosive Green Bay offense to just 13 points and managed to be competitive throughout the game.

That was the last time the Bucs faced a point spread of 17 or more points. Next Sunday, they face a 17-point spread for the first time since that day, and I don't think we can call this the start of something big under a new head coach.

Three of the four sites that have their odds listed on the SB Nation NFL odds page (thanks to John Prowell on Twitter for pointing out this point spread). The fourth site has the team as an 18.5-point underdog. This represents the largest point spread the Bucs have faced since 1996, per Pro Football Reference's database, which has betting data going back to 1978.

Aside from that Green Bay game, the Bucs also were 20-point underdogs in 1992 when facing the 12-2 49ers in San Francisco, and the 1986 Chicago Bears in Chicago. The Bears were coming off a Super Bowl win and would earn the number two seed with a 14-2 record, while the 49ers earned the number one seed and would go on to lose the NFC Championship game to the Dallas Cowboys' first of three 1990s Super Bowl teams.

To illustrate just how horrible this is, the Bucs faced only one point spread of 10 points or more during Raheem Morris' ten-game losing streak to end his tenure, and they were never more than 9-point underdogs from week 10 of the 1996 season through week 9 of the 2006 season.

In other words: the Buccaneers aren't exactly likely to go into Seattle to grab their first win of the season. Never say never, though. This is the NFL, after all.

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