How good will the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense be this year? They've overhauled their awful secondary, but their pass rush is still a little suspect and the linebackers may be vulnerable in coverage. But according to Football Outsiders' updated projections, Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson and Adrian Clayborn are enough to get the Bucs the fourth-best defense in all of football this year.
But Football Outsiders also sees the Buccaneers as the third-best team in the division, finishing just ahead of the Atlanta Falcons. The emphasis here should be on the division's strength: all four NFC South teams are in the top 13, something no other division can remotely touch.
That could be Tampa Bay's downfall this season. By all accounts, the team has plenty of quality and should be pretty good this season. But a rough schedule (3rd toughest by Football Outsiders' reckoning) and the best division in football will likely keep them out of the playoffs. 8 wins and a 34% chance of making the playoffs is not what the Bucs are hoping for.
Unless, of course, Josh Freeman takes a few steps forward. We'll have a first indication as to whether he can do that on Sunday.
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