2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Predictions with Odds to Win Super Bowl
We all know what happened last season. The Tampa Bay Bucs, under the guidance of Tom Brady, became the first team to win the Super Bowl in their home stadium by beating the Kansas City Chiefs. Great. Fantastic. But let’s not make the mistake of thinking they’ve been this powerhouse team for an extended period of time. Since their last Super Bowl win in 2002, the Bucs made the playoffs twice (both wild-card losses) and finished with a losing record in 12 of the 14 years. It’s amazing how things come together perfectly in a single season, but I am hesitant to believe they can defend the Lombardy Trophy this season.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open up their quest to defend the Lombardi Trophy on Thursday Night Football (September 9) at home, against the Dallas Cowboys. From there, the Bucs host the Falcons in Week 2 then hit the road for two games with stops in Los Angeles to take on the Rams and then the long-awaited return of Tom Brady to New England to take on the Patriots. Home dates against the Dolphins and Bears in the odd weeks and away games at Philadelphia and New Orleans in the even weeks precede a Week 9 bye.
As of writing this, the Buccaneers are the second choice in the betting odds to win the Super Bowl, checking in at +650. To win the NFC, they are the favorites at +325, and to win the NFC South they can be had for the short price of -200.
Doc’s Sports offers NFL expert picks for every game on our NFL predictions page.
Let’s take a look at what to expect from each unit heading into this season.
Key Players: Tom Brady, Mike Evans, Chris Godwin
Where do we even begin with Brady? The guy has been around the league so long that there are no new words that we can use to describe him, his play, his leadership, or his ability to turn an afterthought into a Super Bowl champion. Brady seems to be getting better with age, and it wouldn’t shock me for him to have another tremendous season. Statistically, 2020 was one of Brady’s best seasons in awhile. His 40 touchdown passes were the most he has thrown since the 2007 season when he threw 50. His interception number did increase to 12, which is one shy of a career-worst number. He threw the ball for 4,633 yards, which was his most since 2015 when he threw for 4,770 yards. Super Bowl aside, Brady proved to the doubters that he is in fact the GOAT and that he can do it with a new team, new coach, new scheme, and a new challenge.
Thankfully for Brady, he’s got guys like Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to throw the ball to. Evans has been an elite receiver in the league for the last handful of years. That is, of course, when he’s not battling nagging injuries. Evans has topped the 1,000-yard receiving mark in each of his first seven seasons, including last year when he managed 1,006 yards and 13 touchdowns. Evans is a massive red-zone target, and he found an instant connection with Brady. He’s in line for another monster year once again.
Across from him, Chris Godwin has emerged as a solid and reliable No. 2 receiver. Godwin played in just 12 games last season but still managed 840 yards and seven touchdowns. Had he played in the full 16, he would have likely had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons and double-digit touchdowns. I expect a breakout year for Godwin this season.
On the ground, the Bucs had a good one-two punch of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette, the latter of which joined the team halfway through the season. Jones turned in 978 yards and seven touchdowns while contributed with six touchdowns of his own. The duo is back once again this season, so the offense should be able to put up plenty of points this season.
Defense & Special Teams
Key Players: Ndamukong Suh, Devin White
Defensively is where the Bucs made their hay. They were among the best units in the league in two of the three major defensive categories, and en route to the Super Bowl the Bucs’ defense certainly stepped it up a notch. The Bucs finished the regular season with the eighth-best unit in terms of points allowed per game, giving up just 22.2. Against the run is where the Bucs dominated, as they were the best run-stopping unit in the league, giving up just 80.6 rushing yards per contest. Against the pass is where the Bucs had issues, ranking 21st and giving up 246.6 passing yards per contest to opposing teams. We see how much they stepped up that aspect of the game in the postseason as they limited Aaron Rodgers and Patrick Mahomes to next to nothing in the NFC Championship Game and Super Bowl, respectively. The best part of all this if you are a Bucs’ fan is that the entire defense returns and figures to be better this year than it was last season. As for special teams, the Bucs are bringing back Ryan Succop to handle the kicking duties, and he performed well last season in the Bucs’ run to the Lombardy trophy.
On paper, the Bucs are the best team in the division. They should cruise to a division title and a high seed in the playoffs. That is, of course, barring any major injuries or a complete fall apart on their end. The Bucs are well equipped to make another deep playoff run. And with Tom Brady at the helm, I wouldn’t rule out a second consecutive title.
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