The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were somewhat optimistic about their playoff chances at the start of the season. After one week things were looking up: the Bucs had just beaten the Atlanta Falcons, they looked pretty good doing so, and most of their new talent was playing well.
Three weeks later and we’re all doomed, because the Bucs just lost three consecutive games in fairly embarrassing ways, and injuries are affecting the team in rather severe ways.
That’s reinforced by advanced statistics and projections, too. Football Outsiders gives the Bucs just a 10.9% chance of making the playoffs, ranking them as the 30th team in the NFL. Similarly, FiveThirtyEight gives the Bucs just an 8% chance of making the playoffs, ranking them 29th.
In other words: three losses have severely injured the Bucs’ chances, though there’s still a chance. Part of the issue is, of course, that those three losses and the way they happened are strong indications that the Bucs just aren’t a good team. It’s not just that they need to start winning games, and rapidly, they’re probably just not good enough to actually win those games.
There’s one bit of solace here: Robert Ayers and Doug Martin should return after the bye week, which should be a boost for the defense and the offense. The Bucs play better when those two are on the field — or so we think, given that the one time they both played a full game, the Bucs won.