For the higher a part of a decade and a half, the Bucs have been a safer wager to complete third or fourth within the NFC South than they have been to win it. That modified in 2020 when the workforce signed Tom Brady. But, the addition of the best quarterback in NFL historical past wasn’t sufficient for Tampa Bay to win its first division title since 2007 — at the very least not immediately.
The Bucs couldn’t recover from the New Orleans Saints-sized hump within the 2020 common season, Brady’s first yr on the town. They did, nonetheless, go on to win the Tremendous Bowl. Each workforce within the league would commerce a division championship for the Lombardi Trophy. That doesn’t imply the workforce wasn’t intent on claiming the division crown in 2021. Regardless of failing to beat New Orleans within the common season, Tampa Bay did simply that. The Bucs finally ran away with the division, ending 13-4.
The division up for grabs heading into 2022 when Brady retired again in February. Nonetheless, his return stabilizes the Bucs. That’s why it’s no shock to see that CBS Sports activities’ Cody Benjamin ranked them because the 2021 division winner that’s the least “susceptible” to lose their title heading into the brand new season.
“Look no additional than the person below heart. Ever since Tom Brady returned from ‘retirement,’ [the Bucs] turned the story of the NFC, if not the NFL,” Benjamin wrote. “The transition from Bruce Arians to Todd Bowles on the sidelines is an underrated X-factor, however Brady’s nonetheless in his prime at 44, and his weaponry stays elite. In the meantime, the Saints are appearing like they’re nonetheless in competition however have questions at QB and coach, the Panthers are in the identical boat, and the Falcons could have the league’s worst roster.”
Bucs Will Be NFC South Favorites, However Want To Clear Immovable Hurdle
There’s no query that the Bucs have the perfect roster within the NFC South heading into the brand new season. After Brady’s return, common supervisor Jason Licht went to work. He re-signed Ryan Jensen, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Carlton Davis III whereas additionally including Shaq Mason, Russell Gage, Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal. The draft class addressed some urgent wants, specifically with second-round decide Logan Corridor anticipated to step in and begin because the workforce’s 3-technique defensive sort out with Ndamukong Suh wanting unlikely to return.
Tampa Bay definitely nonetheless has some query marks on its roster. Will Rob Gronkowski return? May the remaining months of the offseason see an addition or two to shore up the workforce’s cross rush? Are there sufficient in-house choices for key depth roles on the protection? Even with these questions, the Bucs are in pole place to repeat as NFC South champions for the primary time of their historical past.
The Saints added some vital items this offseason, with security Tyrann Mathieu and receiver Jarvis Landry among the many newest. They’ve additionally misplaced key contributors in security Marcus Williams and left sort out Terron Armstead. Even with a query mark at quarterback and a training change, it’s no shock that they’ve the second-best odds to win the division.
The 2 groups will first meet in Week 2, with the Bucs touring to New Orleans. The Saints will then come to Raymond James Stadium for a Monday Evening Soccer matchup in Week 13.