The 2016 NFL draft is over, most of free agency over, most NFL rosters are basically set at this point. We can now have somewhat vaguely informed opinions about how each team will do this season. The key question for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: will they make the playoffs for the first time since 2007-08?
The Bucs drafted four players who should help immediately: first-round cornerback Vernon Hargreaves, second-round pass rusher Noah Spence, second-round kicker Roberto Aguayo, and sixth-round fullback Dan Vitale. Add in the free agent additions of J.R. Sweezy, Brent Grimes and Robert Ayers, a return to health for Vincent Jackson, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Clinton McDonald, Jacquies Smith and the end of Kwon Alexander's suspension, and the Bucs should be much better this offseason.
So it's disappointing to see that Las Vegas doesn't agree. The Westgate Las Vegas Superbook gives the Bucs' over-under as seven wins, which would be just a one-win improvement over last year. The fact that Kyle Brindza is no longer on the roster alone should account for that one win, if not more. Then again, Vegas odds have been consistently better at forecasting the Bucs' performance than fan optimism, so maybe Bucs fans are once again headed for disappointment. It wouldn't be the first time.
One thing to keep in mind: the Bucs were in playoff contention until week 13 last year, before losing four straight games. A playoff spot wouldn't be unrealistic, and at least one writer agrees: Jason McIntyre of The Big Lead named them as one of five teams who "helped their playoff chances". He doesn't even particularly mind drafting Roberto Aguayo.
What say you, is McIntyre right and will the Bucs make the playoffs, or is Vegas once again spot on?