Projecting the Bucs' win total is going to be difficult this year. Well, it's difficult every year, really, but there seem to be a few more question marks than usual this time around. How will Davin Joseph, Carl Nicks and Adrian Clayborn return from injury? What will Darrelle Revis' impact be? Can Josh Freeman become more consistent? And can they beat their tough schedule? Most of the independent pundits don't seem to think the Buccaneers can do that.
Prisco went through every NFL game to project every team's record. While Prisco can be acerbic and, you know, an asshole -- he's fairly objective and knowledgeable about the NFL. So his view of the Buccaneers and the NFL in general is worthwhile, even if it isn't the absolute truth. He's going to be wrong about a lot. Because, you know, that's what happens when you try project every game in the NFL.
That's some good prognosticating, I guess. I've got a few quibbles, of course. I think the Buccaneers are going to struggle to beat 8-8 this year, but I do think they'll do better than Prisco suggests. A few games I could see the Bucs win: Week 11 vs. Atlanta at home, week 12 vs. Lions in Detroit, Week 4 vs. Cardinals in Arizona, and week 16 vs. Rams in St. Louis. Of course, I'm not sure the Bucs can beat the 49ers in week 15.
This also gives me an excuse to write about Football Outsiders' projection in their 2013 Almanac (buy it here -- it's well worth the money). Their regular season projections are based on their model of past NFL seasons, which at minimum makes the view objective. Football Outsiders projects the Buccaneers to, on average, go 8-8. But the breakdown of their percentages is a lot more interesting.
|On The Clock (0-4)||7%|
|Playoff Contender (8-10)||45%|
|Super Bowl Contender (11+)||18%|
|Super Bowl Odds||4.0%|
Those odds aren't too bad. A 35.1% chance of making the playoffs, and a 4% chance of making the Super Bowl sound about right. I don't think anyone can seriously argue that the Buccaneers are at the level of the regular Super Bowl contenders, and they're in an exceedingly tough division. That's exacerbated by a very tough schedule, the fourth toughest in the NFL by Football Outsiders' numbers.
That doesn't mean the Buccaneers are going to be awful, of course. They have a good shot of making the playoffs, and a small shot of getting to the Super Bowl. Those things are possible -- just not likely. And honestly, that's about right. The next question: if the Buccaneers do not make the playoffs, what are the consequences for Josh Freeman, Greg Schiano and Mark Dominik?