ESPN’s 2018 Football Power Index came out earlier this week and while it’s not the ultimate preseason prediction tool, it’s still fun to see what the “pros” have forecasted for your favorite NFL team.
What a difference a year makes.
Tampa Bay went into 2017 riding a wave of expectations the size of Vita Vea. It’s pretty obvious that expectations aren’t high for the Bucs in 2018, but damn, when laid out like this it can be pretty depressing.
The Bucs are 22nd overall in total FPI, but they rank 27th out of 32 teams with a 10% chance to reach the postseason. Vegas has set the over/under at 6.5 wins on the season, but a 1-in-10 hit rate really puts things into perspective.
Some other encouraging (barf) numbers include:
- A five-percent chance to win the division - Sure, why not? Even though the NFC South has never had a repeat champion before, let’s just go ahead and wipe Tampa Bay from the equation.
- A less than one percent chance to make or win the Super Bowl - That’s just dirty, ESPN. No wonder they call you the four-letter network. You just made Carlin’s list.
- There are two guaranteed victories - This one will get your motor running! The Bucs play two teams with just as bad - or worse - a chance to get to the postseason in the Giants and Browns. The Redskins and Bears are slightly ahead of Tampa which are very likely victories as well. Only two teams have a worse shot to make the playoffs than the Bucs.
- The offensive unit rating makes complete sense - This is where ESPN really got it right. Even though Tampa featured a Top 10 offense in 2017 and made major improvements at important positions, they still have one of the worst unit ratings at (-0.5). This has them tied for 18th with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- The strength of schedule, again - Beating dead horses are fun, especially when they’re beaten with pessimistic outlooks. The strength of schedule is no joke, unlike the majority of Tampa Bay’s performances over the past decade.