The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 2-3, beat the Carolina Panthers, are 2-0 in the division, and have a chance to actually win the NFC South, if things go their way. It’s looking pretty good for the Bucs, and all of that due to just one win.
NFL power rankings don’t necessarily agree, though. SB Nation’s Adam Stites still sticks the Bucs in 27th place, just as he did last week. One win against an admittedly bad team didn’t help much, in the eyes of Stites, at least.
That’s not true for every other outlet, though. ESPN had the Bucs jumping up from 29 to 23, Sports Illustrated from 24 to 22, and NFL.com from 23 to 22. The Bucs are getting minor bumps, but not huge ones. Hurray for a little bit of respect!
So are the Bucs slowly turning into a good team, then? Well, not if we can believe the advanced statistics and analysts. For instance, Football Outsiders still has them ranked 29th. Which, well, is not good — and actually worse than last year, I might add, both on offense and on defense. Of course, opponent adjustments haven’t quite kicked in yet for them.
That also serves as bit of a temper on slightly raised expectations. The Bucs beat a bad team by a minimal margin with quite some luck, and despite significant amounts of self-sabotage. That gives them a 2-3 record and a chance to win the division, but it doesn’t actually mean they’re a good team yet.