The Bucs are currently 7-7, which is pretty wild when you think about how bad this team was a month ago.
Winning cures a lot of woes in the NFL, but it also masks a lot of them, as well.
If you aren’t quite sure of what I’m talking about, you don’t need to look any further than the final six games of Tampa Bay’s 2016 season. The Bucs won six of their final eight games - which included a five-game win streak - to finish the year 9-7. The hype train officially left the station during the following offseason and 2017 was supposed to be the year the Bucs made it back to the postseason.
That win streak hid a lot of deficiencies that would eventually bring the team down and produce a 5-11 season in 2017. Dirk Koetter, for whatever reason, just happened to catch lightning in a bottle during that span and never figured out how to sustain success.
So, here we are in 2019, and the Bucs are currently in the middle of a four-game win streak, with a chance to win their fifth in a row this Saturday against the Texans.
The last month has been exciting, but let’s be real, the competition hasn’t been the best. The Bucs beat the Falcons, Jaguars, Colts, and Lions. If you want to go back and say the Bucs have five of their last six and include the Cardinal’s, that’s fine, we can do that.
The combined record of those five teams is 23-45-2. Three of those teams are currently picking in the top-10 of the 2020 NFL Draft. Tampa Bay has also made a lot of the same mistakes that have caused the team to lose games in the past, but it’s been able to overcome them instead of succumbing to them.
Don’t get me wrong: beating bad teams is a good thing. It shows that you are at least an average team. You should beat the teams you are supposed to beat, which is exactly what the Bucs have done over the last month.
All of the “beating bad teams” narrative goes away this weekend, however, when the Bucs host the Houston Texans.
Houston is currently 9-5 and leads the AFC South. The Texans have beaten the Patriots, Chiefs, and they took down the red-hot Titans last week. They have legit players on both sides of the ball that include Deshaun Watson, DeAndre Hopkins, J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and others.
This a great chance for the Bucs to continue to show that they are improving and that they are improving on a consistent basis. A win would be even more impressive considering all of the injuries the team is currently dealing with.
Now, to be fair, you could say, “But Evan, the Bucs beat the Chiefs and the Seahawks during the five-game win streak in 2016. The Chiefs were 7-3 and the Hawks were 7-3-1, so does the level of competition really matter that much?”
A loss to the Texans won’t take anything away from what this team has done over the past month nor will a win punch their ticket to the Super Bowl, but a win will build confidence. It will build a reputation. And most importantly, it will build a stronger foundation to hold more room for more wins.
Plus, who doesn’t want to ruin another team’s shot at the postseason?
How much better will you feel about this team with a win over the Texans?
This poll is closed
I’ll be 100% on board.
I’ll feel really good.
I’ll feel good.
It won’t matter. I’ll feel the same.
It’ll make me feel terrible for continuing to worsen draft position.