Objective win projections are fun. We can all scream and yell at them as fans, because that's what we do when we think our team is being disrespected. At the end of the day, though, third-party outlets tend to not be overly biased -- it doesn't suit their needs. So those
Football Outsiders thinks the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will end the season with a 7-9 record. The advanced statistics analysts give the Bucs 7.5 mean wins in 2014, just a half-win ahead of the Atlanta Falcons, barely behind the Carolina Panthers (7.9 mean wins) and well behind the New Orleans Saints (10.7 mean wins).
Aaron Schatz gives an explanation for why their model isn't so very impressed with the Bucs' offseason moves so far.
Tampa Bay is a colossal question mark. The Bucs were 19th in Football Outsiders' DVOA ratings, suggesting they far outplayed their 4-12 record. Normally that indicates significant improvement the next year because DVOA is much more consistent than wins and losses. However, the Bucs have all-new coaches, which on average tends to hold a team back a bit. Given the messy situation with last year's coaches, you would think that was less likely to be the case here, except the new coaches are so intent on changing schemes that they jettisoned one of the two or three best cornerbacks in the game and brought in a lifetime backup quarterback coming off a completely unrepeatable half-season hot streak.
Of course, the alternative to that backup quarterback with an unrepeatable hot streak was to either start a drafted rookie (which tends to work out badly in the first year) or to start a second-year player who did significantly worse than said backup quarterback on a hot streak.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 7 wins as well, or at least the Hilton does, ahead of just six other teams. Another objective, third-party projection saying the Buccaneers are screwed. Ruh-roh.
Last year, when most of the Bucs fan base was pretty optimistic on the team's chances (which ended with bitter disappointment), Outsiders and Las Vegas were both a lot more sensible about the whole thing. Las Vegas projected them for 7.5 wins, while Football Outsiders thought they'd win 8 games. Amusingly, both projections are higher than their projections for this season -- but still short of where the Bucs wanted (and want) to be: in the playoffs.
This has been a fairly consistent theme for years on end. Bucs fans are optimistic. Objective outlets a lot less so. Objective outlets end up being correct. Except in 2010 -- when the Bucs went 10-6, and still missed the playoffs. It's getting a little old. Time to change it up.