The first quarter of the season is over, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers don't look like they have much of a chance to make the playoffs. At 1-3, they're three games behind the Atlanta Falcons in the division and two games behind the Chicago Bears, Minnesota Vikings and San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card race. The Bucs will have to improve mightily during the coming 12 games to stand a chance of getting to the playoffs.
A few things are working in their favor, though. The schedule should get a lot easier from here on out. The Kansas City Chiefs, the New Orleans Saints, the Oakland Raiders, the St. Louis Rams and the Carolina Panthers are on the docket and very few truly good teams have yet to face off against the Bucs. With a weak schedule, the Bucs could go on a tear and win a lot of games.
Part of the reason why they should be able to do so is improved play, and a little more luck. So far, the Bucs have only lost one-score games where they had a chance to win the game at the end. One-score games are often decided in large part by luck, and if the Bucs can manage to keep every game close, they'll win a fair share of those games.
More importantly, the players should become more comfortable in the new system as time goes on. We've seen the defense give up some big plays because of scheme and individual breakdowns, while the offense has struggled in all phases. That should improve as players learn the system, and that should lead to more wins. The Bucs are still a long way removed from the playoffs no matter how quickly they improve, however.
So, how many games will the Bucs win this year? Let us know what you think!