According to Football Outsiders' raw metrics(*), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were the 17th-best team in the NFL on Sunday. That's...well, that's clearly not good enough. Not given the amount of talent the Buccaneers have added the past years, and certainly not given the amount of offseason hype they've gotten. The silver lining is that in their stat taking into account preseason projections, the Bucs are 11th. So, that'd mean maybe a wild card spot.
Interestingly, the Bucs' performance was outstanding if we ignore one facet of the game: the offense. On defense, the Bucs put up the fourth-best performance of the day. On special teams, they put up the best performance of the day. On offense, though, they put up the third-worst performance of the day. Only the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars were worse.
Of course, all of this is without opponent adjustments. The Bucs were, after all, playing against a rookie quarterback with an offense that lacked talent, overall. Playing well against an opponent like that should be a given -- but the team's performance was still very promising.
So what about playoff odds? Football Outsiders gives the Buccaneers a 27.6% chance of reaching the playoffs. That's not nearly good enough, but it's far from the elimination of all hope sentiments we've seen over the past two days. There's even a 1.3% chance of winning the Super Bowl -- conversely, there's also a 1.5% chance of landing Teddy Bridgewater.
One other upside is that no one in the NFC South looked impressive on Sunday. The Falcons were uneven and their old nemesis (the offensive line) failed to do much against a generally talent-poor New Orelans front four. Those self-same Saints looked pretty decent on offense, but their offensive line also struggled. A lot. And their Which should be fun for Gerald McCoy and Adrian Clayborn on Sunday.
And finally, the Panthers were inept offensively against the Seattle Seahawks, although their defense was very impressive. None of the Bucs' division opponents looked great, and the Buccaneers have plenty of opportunity to do some damage this year. They just have to improve on this past week's performance.
(*) I like Football Outsiders' metrics for a number of reasons, mostly because they're objective, data-driven, based on down-to-down efficiency (10 yards on third-and-twenty is not a good thing for their data), and opponent adjustments. The latter aren't in full effect yet, though.