Ahead of the regular season, ESPN.com listed the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as their 27th ranked team according to power rankings, and identified Jameis Winston as the player on the ‘hot seat’, according to Jenna Laine.
“Winston enters the fifth and final year of his rookie contract. While he has enjoyed the full support of ownership, general manager Jason Licht and coach Bruce Arians and continues to be the first one to enter and last one to leave the building (at times, they’ve had to kick him out), he still has to deliver on that promise,” Laine wrote in late August.
Now, entering Week 12, the Buccaneers currently sit in the 26th spot falling from No. 23 following their Week 11 loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints. And while some fans have been lamenting about how much worse it could get for the struggling franchise, this isn’t actually the lowest they’ve been in 2019.
Tampa Bay fell to as low as 30th according to ESPN following their Week 1 loss to the San Francisco 49ers. The team’s highest position on the Power Rankings list came in Week 5 when the 2-2 Buccaneers reached No. 21 with a 31.9% chance of making the playoffs.
When asked ahead of Week 5 to write about what the Bucs needed to do to enhance their playoff outlook, Laine started by writing simply,
The exact thing which has eluded the Buccaneers this season, is the exact reason they’re staring down the barrel of another losing season, and are at real risk of not even meeting the 5-11 record which contributed to the termination of Dirk Koetter in the first place.
NFL.com has their own Power Rankings as well, and they have the Bucs two spots lower, placing them 28th in their most current list.
In the most recent rankings, Hanzus writes,
“We’re coming up on a disturbing century milestone for Jameis Winston. With four interceptions in Sunday’s loss to the Saints, Winston now has 98 turnovers in fewer than five seasons. Winston is up to 18 picks this year, which puts him in a tie with Jay Cutler (2009) for second-most by any player through 10 team games in the last 25 seasons, according to ESPN. The grand takeaway is obvious enough: Ball security has been a miserable sore spot for Winston, and it will probably bring his run in Tampa Bay to a premature close. Bruce Arians is 67 years old. Is he going to dedicate the 2020 season, a season that could be his last on the sidelines, to taking another crack at “fixing” Winston? We have our doubts, and the glut of veteran QBs about to hit the market means the Bucs will have several options.”
In one set of rankings, the team is middle of the pack among the three win squads ranking ahead of the Denver Broncos and New York Jets while sitting behind other three win teams like the Detroit Lions, Arizona Cardinals and Atlanta Falcons. In the other, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers sit above only the two win Miami Dolphins and New York Giants, the one win Washington Redskins and the winless Cincinnati Bengals.
While they aren’t at the lowest they’ve been this season, a fall to 3-8 with a loss to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12 may just push them to new depths this year.