Can we forget about that ugly loss yet? Beyond bad it was an embarrassing display by every single person affiliated with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Players didn't execute, they weren't prepared, it was just a disaster. But it's time to shake off that loss and get ready for the Saints. The only problem is, that loss put us off schedule when looking at the whole year. Now, none of us can predict what will happen (if you can, let me know, I'll stake you in Vegas) but it's pretty clear we were counting on last week's game being a win. I had us pegged at 4-1 going into the New Orleans game having lost only to the Colts (when I thought Manning would play). We instead lost to the Lions, but still went to the West Coast at 3-1 and ready to go to 4-1. This set us up for a split with the Saints and Bears in London and had us heading into the bye at 4-3.
The last half of the schedule is nasty and features some tough road games. Being realistic, I had us pegged to lose in New Orleans (4-4) , lose to Houston (4-5) , lose to Green Bay (4-6) , beat Tennessee (5-6) , beat Carolina (6-6), beat Jacksonville (7-6), beat Dallas (8-6), beat Carolina (9-6) and lose to Atlanta (9-7). I get that some of those are swing games, but now we have to win the first game against New Orleans and then beat Chicago to get into the bye at 5-2. That's also counting both Carolina games as a win, but they aren't near as bad as we thought.
It's a given that you have to play each game, and all of these predictions are just that, but the 49ers game is proof of "Any Given Sunday." The Bucs will need to rebound and do it fast. Six of the last nine games after the bye are on the road and could provide a struggle. Luckily, we don't go west again all season.