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NFL Power Rankings: Buccaneers struggles validate their slide in ranks

Bucs can’t get much love due to losses.

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Cincinnati Bengals Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Buccaneers almost left Week 8 with a win over the Bengals after quarterback Jameis Winston was benched for Ryan Fitzpatrick who led them to an 18-point comeback to tie before eventually losing to a field goal in the final seconds. But “almost” is merely another loss to add to their record this season.

The move to start Fitzpatrick heading into Week 9 is an interesting one. Tampa Bay saw the veteran quarterback we are used to see in Weeks 3 and 4, but the Bucs are right back in a quarterback carousel.

Head coach Dirk Koetter and the rest of the staff have a lot of things to figure out. With the defense still struggling, the last thing they needed was another issue elsewhere on the field. And it so happens that now they have a bad problem at quarterback.

Below are how some national media outlets view the 3-4 Buccaneers.

ESPN

25. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Record: 3-4

Week 8 ranking: 24

In four games and three starts, Bucs fourth-year quarterback Jameis Winstonalready has turned the ball over 11 times, with 10 interceptions, including four Sunday against the Bengals. With a defense that is giving up an average of 415.3 yards per game, it has become a total nightmare as coach Dirk Koetter fights for his job. -- Jenna Laine

The MMQB

25. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-4)

Last Week’s rank: 25

Points in poll: 79

Highest-place vote: 23 (2)

Lowest-place vote: 27 (1)

Last week: Loss 37-34 at Cincinnati

Next week: at Carolina

At least the Bucs know they have to move on from Jameis Winston. That honestly might be a better outcome from this season than if he was playing just barely well enough to prolong this.

USA Today

23. Buccaneers (21): Trick — or should we say “Fitzmagic?” Dirk Koetter going back to backup’s bag of tricks after Jameis Winston gave out too many treats.

NFL.com

Current: 25

Previous rank: No. 24

Start Ryan Fitzpatrick the rest of the season. Then decide if you want to keep Jameis Winston this spring. That’s one way to handle this situation decisively. (Well, unless Fitzmagic pulls a bunch of interceptions out of a hat.) The Bucs picked up Winston’s fifth-year option for 2019, but it’s guaranteed for injury only. If Tampa does retain the enigmatic quarterback, the team should draft another and make Winston compete. That scenario should include Fitzpatrick, as well, in the way New York re-upped Josh McCown as a fallback option for Sam Darnold growing pains.

And over at the mothership, SB Nation ranks the Bucs 26. Same as last week.