Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why I'm Taking The Over

Earlier this off season I set the over/under on wins for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season at six. I staked out the 6 games I thought they might win but in all honestly I thought there was a chance they could lose one of those so had anyone asked I would have probably said I was taking the under.

Now that I have had the benefit of seeing the team play this preseason I have changed my mind. I am now predicting that the Bucs will win 7-8 games this year. Yesterday I said I had them with 7 and a possible:

I'm officially taking the over now for the Bucs. If you know anything about playing spades I'm taking them for 7 and a possible. Right now I believe we can and will beat Cleveland, St Louis, Carolina at least once, Arizona, Washington, Detroit, Seattle and its possible we will beat Atlanta once.

But Elliot in the comments section pointed out the Steelers game as a another possible win that I hadn't counted. So the reality is I'm actually leaning more towards 8 but I will go with 7 and a possible for now.

I'm sure the question is why am I taking the over now when so many people have such a negative outlook on the Bucs for this year (Peter King just predicted they would go 2-14). Am I being overly optimistic? Am I trying to inflate the Bucs' prospects because I used to play for them? Am I just trying to be contrarian? Or maybe I might have just bumped my head?

No...on all counts.

Here is why I'm taking the over now. I see how much this team has improved in one year. From the players to the coaching staff this team looks very different to me from the one that went 3-16 last year. Gone is the horrendous Jim Bates defensive scheme and in its place I see a stingy defense with full of playmakers.

Gone is the zone run blocking scheme and in its place I see a lot more counters and split bellys and power Os which is what our offensive line was made for.

One of the most important changes is that Mike Nugent and his inconsistent field goal kicking is gone replaced by Connor Barth who has now become a weapon for us.

Overall I see a team that has more of a sense of direction and more focus than I saw last year.

Oh and we are a lot more talented as well.

Now when I think of the team I think of weapons. Weapons on both side of the ball. Josh Freeman, Mike Williams, Kellen Winslow, Kareem Huggins, those guys are weapons. Gerald McCoy, Aqib Talib, Geno Hays, Quincy Black, those guys are weapons. Instead of being on our heels, this year we are going to be the ones attacking. And it turns out that we even have some quality depth at key positions like center which we didn't have last year.

And then when you look at our schedule and you watch these preseason games you realize that there are some teams that we are simply better than. I would put the Browns, Seahawks and Rams in that category. There are other teams that we are at least as good as and we get to play them at home. I would say the Panthers, and Lions fit that bill. Then you have the teams who have a problem at quarterback. The Steelers will have to use Dennis Dixon or Byron Leftwich and nobody knows who the Cardinals will have at quarterback by the time we play them. Then you have the Redskins who still have to learn how to play a 3-4 and don't have a lot of offensive weapons around McNabb, and you have the Falcons who we played tough in two games last year barely coming up short both times.

In the end out of that group 7 or 8 wins are not only possible, they are likely.

Several things could of course change this outlook including injuries, but for right now I feel very comfortable taking the over. I know some people will scoff at that but it won't be the first time. If I turn out to be wrong I will have no problem coming out and admitting that I was. The real question as I see it however is what if I'm right? Will the nay sayers admit THEY were wrong?

Somehow I doubt it.

But here is your chance. What's YOUR prediction for the Bucs record this season? Let me know in the comments section and we can compare notes in January.


  1. WINS - Cle, @Car, STL, @ARI, CAR, ATL,
    @WAS, DET, SEA.
    That's an optimistic 9 wins.
    Likely 2 over but getting PIT without Ben means there is a legit shot at 8-8!!

  2. I'm going with 6-10

    I think we'll lose a few of those winnable games, and maybe win one more among the other games. I agree with all your points, just don't think we'll be lucky enough to pull out all those wins.

  3. Still sticking with 6-10, although I think 7 or 8 wins is very possible.

    It's all going to hinge on how well our offense plays. I'm already expecting our defense to be better than league average.

  4. I appreciate all the comments and predictions. One thing that kind of pissed me off about the Peter King prediction is that you can tell he did little to no critical thinking on it. Basically he has us beating the Steelers but losing to the Rams AND getting swept by all of our division opponents. I mean WTF?! The Panthers don't have any recievers other than Steve Smith and he is still coming off the arm surgery. I'm not saying Im absolutely right on my prediction but we would have to actually work our asses off to lose 14 games this year with our schedule and our talent.

  5. 10-6 here,8-8 at the least

  6. Kinda encouraging article for Bucs fans Steve. Yes I know our team is young and I cannot be drinking Kool-Aid or be optimistic, but the last two weeks, I have been coming across these discouraging articles about Freeman's injury and these predictions/ratings/rankings by Schein, King, Clayton and other folks on media such as NFL network and ESPN. What I hate the most is folks who do not know jack about our team and still confidently talk all the crap.

    Really good to have a blogger that knows football as well as the Bucs franchise inside out.

  7. Thanks for all you do, Steve. I greatly enjoy your work. Peter King can go fuck himself, what a hack. He is basing his predictions on one half day that he spent at Buc training camp interviewing 3 people and he did not even watch a practice. And what do you think the chances are that he watched even one Bucs preseason game? The odds are that your prediction is better because King is never right.

  8. The Bucs will go 7-9. This is a big improvement over last year. I see the Bucs playing a lot more close games as I believe the running game will be much improved. Whoever thinks Freeman is the 29th ranked quarterback (Peter King) has not seen his development and has not looked into all of the starting quarterbacks.

  9. No doubt..We will be a more improved team all around this year. The hell with those POSERS claiming to be so called EXPERTS of the sweet(and sometimes brutal) science of professional football. Any team can kick any other teams butt on any given sunday when the conditions are optimal for said team. Me, myself and I predict 9/7. GO BUCS!!!!! BTW...HELL OF A BLOGSITE STEVE!!!!!

  10. You say, "most important change is Connor Barth"?????

    Oh man, we are in trouble.

  11. Reading comprehension fail. SMDH

    I guess if you had to try to work that hard to find something to complain about I must be doing something right LOL

  12. Steve, I really respect your defensive breakdown but no way do the Bucs win more than 6 at most. As much as it pains me given their poor performance in preseason and Freeman's lack of experience, Olson's poor play calling, etc., 4-12 and competing for the 2011 #1 pick.

  13. Don't ask me I bought a super bowl future for the Bucs to win. Then again my friends laughed at me when I was betting the Rays to win at the beginning of 08. If New Orleans gets hit by the injury bug I think we might have a chance to take the division.

  14. Seriously Steve, I truly appreciate your honest and clearly informed breakdown of our Bucs team. It's a nice change from most other half ass'd opinions out there. Football is always a kind of crap shoot. Any number of factors could play into a win or a loss. So one of the best ways to stack those odds in your favor is to bring as much talent as you can. And by all accounts we've had a great draft these past 2 years. I'm excited to watch all this talent grow. It'll be a little tough this year with likely more losses than wins...but make no mistake, albeit young, this team has real talent.

    I know with only 16 games a year football fans have little patience. But give this team a chance to grow and mature a little and more than a few people will be noticing this team.
    6-8 wins this year is absolutely realistic.

  15. 8 wins is likely the cap, 7 would be fantastic, but I think 6 is where the Bucs will finish. The same way that we are looking at the Browns, Rams, Seahawks, etc. and thinking win, they are looking at the Bucs and thinking win. I agree with Sander, the Bucs will lose a couple of those "winnable" games and win a couple against better opponents.

    My biggest hope though is that they finish above the Panthers in the division.

  16. I think we will lose a least one of the games most are calling winnable and win one of the really tough ones that no one expects us to; like last year where we beat NO in their own house.