It’s finally game week for the Buccaneers, as they are set to kick off their most-anticipated season ever in just six days.
As if anyone needed any more proof that there are astronomical expectations for Tampa Bay in 2020, Sporting News came out with final standings predictions on Sunday. And wouldn’t you know it? The Bucs are predicted to finish atop the NFC South.
The publication has Tampa Bay finishing 12-4, one game ahead of the New Orleans Saints. Here’s the blurb about Bruce Arians’ team being picked as the favorite:
“Tom Brady gets his sweet revenge in leading the Buccaneers to a five-game improvement and the division title. It’s not simply Brady magic; the Bucs are loaded with more in the passing game with Rob Gronkowski, return the No. 1 run defense with [Ndamukong] Suh and a booming pass rush led by [Shaquil] Barrett. Bruce Arians has guided multiple teams to the playoffs before and will make the right adjustments to lift Brady into another postseason.”
There are plenty of pundits out there who are expecting a lot from the Bucs this fall. Some have predicted a long-awaited return to the playoffs, while others have them winning the division. And, of course, there are even some who have Brady leading his new team all the way to the Super Bowl.
In addition to having the Bucs as the division winners in 2020, Sporting News’ predictions piece says this team is in for a deep playoff run. According to the predictions, Tampa Bay is the No. 2 seed in the NFC, taking down the No. 7-seeded 49ers in the opening round of the playoffs before clinching a spot in the NFC Championship Game with a win over the No. 5-seeded Saints. But that’s where things end, as the top-seeded Seahawks are projected to end the Bucs’ quest to play for a Super Bowl in their home stadium:
“Brady and Wilson meet again with an NFC title on the line after their classic Super Bowl, and the Hall of Fame QBs give us one more special passing treat before Carroll gets the better of his old West coaching foe Arians.”
Considering how the last decade-plus has gone for Tampa Bay, it would be hard to look at a berth in the NFC title game as a failure. But it would surely be painful for the team to come that close only to fall short.
The good thing is, the time for predictions is just about over. Football is back, and that’s a wonderful thing.