Given all the turmoil, are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers really a contender in the NFC?
September 5, 2022
Should a new head coach and an unretired QB be a cause for concern with the Bucs?
NFL Preview – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
By Steve Quinne
Win Total = 11.0
Something seems amiss in Tampa Bay.
Bruce Arians retired, but he waited until March to make the announcement. Todd Bowles is his replacement, as the Buccaneers went in-house for their new head coach.
Tom Brady retired. Then, he came back. Then, he left training camp for nearly two weeks. Now, he’s back, apparently ready to go.
Meanwhile, the team rolls into the 2022 season as the prohibitive favorite in the NFC South. The Bucs are also one of the top Super Bowl contenders in the conference.
Given the turmoil, it’s somewhat hard to understand. But that’s what happens when the greatest quarterback of all-time is on the roster.
Brady wins. A lot. The QB has won at least 11 games in an astonishing 12-straight seasons. Twelve! And 11 of those seasons were when the NFL season was only 16 games. In the first 17-game season of his career, Brady went 13-4.
Is now really the time to doubt the 45-year-old quarterback will hit his 11-win floor? That seems like a bad idea.
For the over to lose, Brady and the Bucs would have to finish 10-7 or worse. That’s unlikely. A push is perhaps in play. But 12-5 seems pretty darn likely.
The NFC South has two very weak teams in Atlanta and Carolina; that’s four wins right there. Throw in a split with the Saints and the Bucs are at 5-1.
That means they have to go just 6-5 in their other 11 games to earn a push and 7-4 for the bet to win. They have games with Pittsburgh, Seattle and Cleveland (without Deshaun Watson) on the schedule.
Take the over. It’s a gift.
Odds to Win the Super Bowl = +700
The Bucs are -420 to make the playoffs, -225 to win the NFC South and +700 to win the Super Bowl. The playoffs are a no-brainer since Brady hasn’t missed the postseason since 2002. The division is as well, as the opposing quarterbacks are Jameis Winston (Saints), Baker Mayfield (Browns) and Marcus Mariota (Falcons). All three guys were picked in the top-two of their respective drafts, but none are on the team that selected them. That’s evidence enough all three didn’t live up to the hype.
Yes, Rob Gronkowski retired, but the Tampa Bay offense is still loaded. Chris Godwin has made a miraculous recovery from a torn ACL in December and is on track to start Week 1. Mike Evans remains one of the top WRs in the NFL and the Bucs signed Julio Jones, as well.
Leonard Fournette is a solid starting running back. The Bucs defense is as formidable as any in the league.
Only Buffalo has better Super Bowl odds (+600), but the Bills are cursed. Getting 7/1 on Tom Brady to win it all? Yes, please.
Tom Brady to Win NFL MVP = 12/1
Brady at 12-1 to win NFL MVP is great value. He’s “only” won the award three times but has five Super Bowl MVPs. That math doesn’t add up, with the NFL having to correct multiple errors in the league’s biggest game.
He has a ton of weapons to work with this season but will spread the ball around. So, there’s no use hitting any player prop except Brady to bring home the MVP.
It would also be a ceremonious award in what is likely to be the seven-time Super Bowl winner’s last season after a brief retirement this past offseason. Nobody proves doubters wrong more than Brady.
If that’s not good enough value, Todd Bowles to win Coach of the Year at 40/1 is worth a shot. Only four coaches in the league have longer odds, but Bowles faced some adversity, unexpectedly stepping in for Bruce Arians in March.
Bowles had just one winning season in his four years leading the Jets, but they’re the Jets. If he guides Tampa Bay to 12 or 13 wins and the No. 1 seed in the NFC, he’ll be in the conversation despite the lack of preseason respect.