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2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds | Season Preview | NFL Predictions

2014 Bucs NFL Handicapping

Buccaneers Will Compete For Playoff Spot In First Year Under Lovie Smith

The 2014 season will mark the beginning of a new era for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s more of a reset than a rebuild.

The Buccaneers were expected to contend last season after only narrowly missing the playoffs in 2012 but they started 0-8 on the way to a 4-12 record that led to the dismissal of general manager Mark Dominik and head coach Greg Schiano.

Lovie Smith was hired to take over as head coach and a number of moves were made both in free agency and the draft to upgrade the roster.

The Buccaneers feel they will be much better in 2014 and if they can avoid another terrible start there is every reason to believe Smith can keep them in contention for a playoff spot in to December.

2014 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Team Preview/Predictions

  • 2013 Record: 4-12
  • ATS Record: 6-10

2014 Buccaneers Futures

  • Super Bowl Odds: +6000
  • Conference Odds: +3300
  • NFC South Odds: +650
  • 2014 NFL Regular Season Wins: 7

Smith returns to where it all started for him as an assistant under Tony Dungy in 2000. Smith is a players’ coach that knows how to get the most out of his players and he didn’t hesitate to bring with him former Bears’ quarterback Josh McCown.

McCown was signed to a 2-year, $10 million deal and will take over as the starter ahead of 2013 third-round pick Mike Glennon. Smith believes that McCown has the ability to make all of the throws asked of him and he brought in former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford to work closely with him as the offensive coordinator.

Whoever is under center will have plenty of weapons to move the ball around to with veteran receiver Vincent Jackson joined by 2014 first-round pick Mike Evans and second-round pick tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins.

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Evans has the same body type as Jackson as a massive 6’5 target with a 37-inch vertical and will be able to make plays in traffic. Sefarian-Jenkins is also 6’5 and 262 pounds with soft hands that will make him a favorite in this offense.

Tampa Bay signed free agent Brandon Myers to help Sefarian-Jenkins transition to the NFL and pair with him in two-tight end sets.

The offensive line underwent significant change as left guard Carl Nicks was released after reaching an injury settlement with the team and left tackle Donald Penn was let go. The Buccaneers signed tackle Anthony Collins to replace Penn on the left side and Evan Dietrich-Smith was signed to start at center.

Jamon Meredith will get the first shot to replace Nicks at left guard with Oniel Cousins back at right guard and Demar Dotson at right tackle after an amazing 2013 season. All eyes will be on third-year running back Doug Martin as he returns from a torn labrum.

Martin struggled even before the injury in week seven and some question whether he will every come close to matching the 1,926 yards and 12 touchdowns he registered as a rookie in 2012.

Mike James will compete with rookie third-round pick Charles Sims for snaps as the backup with Bobby Rainey also battling for snaps after producing once Martin and James went down last season.
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Smith brought in former Minnesota Vikings’ head coach Leslie Frazier as his defensive coordinator and there is reason to expect improvement on that side of the ball. Tampa Bay ranked in the middle of the pack against both the run and the pass a year ago but both the scheme and talent should lead to better numbers.

Frazier will implement the Tampa-2 scheme that was made famous in this city and it all begins up front where the defensive line is responsible for providing the pass rush.

The Buccaneers signed free agent defensive end Michael Johnson to a massive five-year deal with the hopes that he can excel on the same line as star tackle Gerald McCoy.

2011 first-round pick defensive end Adrian Clayborn has shown flashes but needs to be more consistent while Akeem Spence has the potential to be better in his second season at tackle.

Tampa Bay also has one of the best 4-3 middle linebackers in the game in Lavonte David who has all of the tools required to excel in this scheme.

David will once again play all three downs with Mason Foster back on the weak side and Jonathan Casillas likely to start on the strong side.

The Buccaneers decided that the price tag for Darrelle Revis was too high so he was released and replaced by free agent addition Alterraun Verner. Verner isn’t as talented as Revis but he is 26-year old and coming off an impressive year that made him one of the best available at the position in free agency.

Tampa Bay will need 2013 second-round pick Johnthan Banks to be better at the other corner spot after struggling at times as a rookie.

They will also need more out of the safety tandem of Dashon Goldson and Mark Barron after they disappointed a year ago. Injuries hampered both players but if they can stay healthy and play to their potential they could be excellent under the guidance of the new coaching staff.

The Buccaneers won’t compete for a Super Bowl in their first season under Smith but he has assembled an excellent coaching staff and roster that will help them bounce back after last year’s disappointment.

Steady quarterback play and a return to form by Martin will be the keys to an offense that has plenty of potential and the Tampa-2 should be the perfect scheme for these players.

Tampa Bay should be able to remain in contention for a playoff spot until December and that will be a major step forward even if this team falls short of a postseason berth in 2014.

2014 Buccaneers Predictions

  • Place they’ll finish in NFC South: 2nd
  • Place they’ll finish in NFC Conference: 10th
  • Over/Under Wins Prediction: OVER

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