2011 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Preview | NFL Predictions
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the best stories in 2010, when they doubled their win total from the previous year and almost made the playoffs.
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2011 Tampa Bay Bucs Team Preview/Predictions
2010 Record: 10-6
ATS Record: 10-5-1
Tampa Bay just missed the playoffs last year (the Bucs were eliminated from playoff contention when Green Bay beat Chicago to clinch the final NFC playoff spot in the last week of the regular season) but their 10-6 record was a huge improvement over their disappointing 3-13 season in 2009.
In the very tough NFC South, the Bucs are still considered a darkhorse to win the division (and nothing more), but their young core should not be overlooked. They also should be a legitimate threat to win one of the wild card spots in the NFC.
Tampa Bay had a very productive draft when the organization selected defensive ends Adrian Clayborn from Iowa and Da’Quan Bowers out of Clemson. They also used their third pick on former Washington Husky inside linebacker Mason Foster.
If Tampa Bay can somehow improve its run defense and generate more pressure on opposing signal callers, they will scare some people, especially in Atlanta and New Orleans.
Tampa completed the greatest turnaround in team history last season, thanks in large part to second year quarterback Josh Freeman, along with playmaking rookies Mike Williams and LeGarrette Blount. Freeman finished sixth in the NFL with a 95.9 quarterback rating, while Williams had 11 TD receptions which ranked him sixth in that category. Blount ranked sixth in averaging roughly five yards per carry.
Freeman, Williams and Blunt were big for Tampa Bay; the credit should and will go to the offensive line. The offensive line’s two-pronged job is to open up holes for ballcarriers and keep the quarterback upright. Fewer units did a better job than the offensive line in Tampa. Freeman was sacked only 28 times, and the Bucs’ running backs averaged 4.6 yards per carry, which ranked them sixth best in the National Football League.
On the other side of the ball there are questions that need to be answered if the Bucs are going to break through and get to the playoffs. Their offensive line might be their greatest strength, but it seems as though their defensive line has to be the biggest weakness.
Opponents’ running backs averaged almost five yards per carry, which ranked second worst in the NFL. Also, The Bucs defense registered only 26 sacks, which was third-worst in the league, and opposing teams converted on third down 43.2 percent of the time, which ranked them next to last.
Sitting in the bottom three of major statistical measurements just can’t happen again if the Bucs want to reach the proverbial next level.
If Tampa Bay’s defense can merely limit opponents’ rushing attacks a little bit and get to the quarterback, the team should have a great chance to make the playoffs. However, that is easier said than done.
It just seems that there are still too many questions for the Bucs and not enough answers, but as they showed last year, they are capable of proving people wrong.
2011 Buccaneers Futures
Super Bowl Odds: +4550
Conference Odds: +2050
NFC South Odds: +405
2011-2012 NFL Regular Season Wins: Under 8
2011 Bucs Predictions
Place they’ll finish in NFC South: 3rd
Place they’ll finish in NFC Conference: 8th
Over/Under Wins Prediction: Under
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