The Tampa Bay Buccaneers came into 2023 with low expectations mostly because of the retirement of star quarterback Tom Brady. However, there is still reason for optimism for the Buccaneers in 2023. The Buccaneers playoff dreams rely on three reasons below that Tampa Bay fans can be hopeful that their team can be a playoff contender this season.
They Have A Strong Run Defense
The Buccaneers proved in week 1 against the Vikings in week 1 that it won’t be easy to run against them this season. They allowed only 41 rushing yards on 17 carries to the Vikings in Week 1. They followed up that performance by holding Justin Fields to only 3 yards on 4 carries for the Bears. That type of run defense is effective because it makes the opposing offenses one-dimensional and it could lead to them making mistakes in the passing game. The Buccaneers run defense will be especially important in a division that faces good running backs such as Bijan Robinson, Alvin Kamara, and Miles Sanders. If they can contain those players in particular during their divisional matchups then the NFC South title could be attainable this season.
Their Defense Is Prone To Creating Turnovers
The real key to the first two wins of the season for the Buccaneers has been their ability to take the ball away on defense. For example, they had three takeaways in their Week 1 victory against the Minnesota Vikings. They followed that performance up by intercepting Justin Fields twice in their win over the Chicago Bears in Week 2. The takeaways have been crucial to not only helping out the offense but securing victory in key moments as well. An example in Week 1 was when rookie Christian Izien intercepted what would have been a touchdown pass at the end of the first half. That play ultimately changed the momentum of the game for the Buccaneers and the team might not have won without that takeaway.
Meanwhile, another example of a crucial takeaway was in Week 2 when Shaquil Barrett had a pick-6 to secure the victory for the Buccaneers. That play with only roughly two minutes remaining in the game gave the Bucs a ten-point lead and put the game out of reach for the Bears. All I’m saying is who knows what would’ve happened if these types of plays hadn’t happened this season for the Buccaneers and it could ultimately be the difference of being a contender for the playoffs or not this season.
They Have Strong Weapons In The Passing Game
Defense isn’t the only strength for the Buccaneers as they also have a couple of wide receivers that are as good as any in the NFL. Mike Evans is already showing why he’s considered to be one of the top receivers in the NFL as he has 237 yards and two touchdowns through two games this season. Meanwhile, Chris Godwin has been reliable as well with 10 catches for 109 yards this season for Tampa Bay. Sure, the Bucs might have concerns at quarterback with Baker Mayfield, but having receivers like Evans and Godwin certainly makes his life a lot easier.
Either way, if this team is going to compete for the NFC South title this season then they’ll need Evans and Godwin to stay healthy because the Buccaneers offense revolves around them. They’re off to a great start this season and they’re once again proving why they’re such a problem for opposing cornerbacks to cover.
In conclusion, the Buccaneers didn’t come into 2023 with playoffs in mind, especially with Baker Mayfield as the starting quarterback. In fact, Draftkings Sportsbook predicted the Bucs to win under 6.5 games this season. They’re currently listed at wins, up from their preseason total. Either way, it appears this team will prove a lot of people wrong this season and the reasons above will be key to accomplishing that goal.
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