Wild Card Could Be In Bucs’ Reach

June 7th, 2012
Can Josh Freeman finally lead the Bucs to a playoff berth this season?

The only possible certainty about the NFC South is its uncertainty. With the exception of the Saints, teams in this division bounce up and down like the features of a Bucs cheerleader during a midfield routine.

This is why Jeff Darlington of the NFL Network and NFL.com seems to think the idea of a playoff run in the first year of the New Schiano Order isn’t completely far-fetched, so he wrote recently.

If there was ever a time for a young team in the NFC South to strike, this might be it. And given that the Bucs remain only one season removed from what seemed to be very legitimate progress, I’ll give them as good of a shot as any to take advantage of the Saints’ nasty situation ahead.

Tampa has the quarterback and the skill players to excel on offense. If the defense can hold its own against Carolina and Atlanta, the Bucs should be fully capable of getting their squad back on its previous track toward success. It might take a wild-card berth — since I’ll peg the Falcons as the division’s early favorite — but that’s nonetheless a scenario that could most certainly play out.

That’s the critical element for the Bucs: the defense. There is no way of sugarcoating it. The Bucs defense was an abomination last year. When healthy, can the Bucs defense really make that much improvement? Time will tell.

One thing certain is that the Saints are a mess, though a talented mess. If Drew Brees decides to sit out while amping up the volume on his contract hassle with the team, that’s one less team the Bucs will have to worry about leapfrogging to get a wild card.

30 Responses to “Wild Card Could Be In Bucs’ Reach”

  1. Miguel Grande Says:

    PLAYOFFS?? YOU’RE TALKING PLAYOFF’S! Let’s break the freaking 10 game losing streak before you talk about playoffs.

  2. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Big mistake. Discounting the Saints. This is the team that nearly went undefeated without an off season.

    It’s a team that was always more talented on offense than on defense…and the suspensions are all on defense except for the head coach.

    Drew Brees will be signed BEFORE training camp, probably much sooner.

    It would be a mistake to discount them out-of-hand.

    On top of that, the Falcons are a valid threat. If anyone is the fav to win the division it’s the falcons.

    I’m not saying we can’t or won’t win the division, I’m just saying it’s not a lock.

  3. The Dutcher Journal (Pete Dutcher) Says:

    Miguel Grande
    So negative. While there are challenges ahead, there is no reason to not be optimistic.

  4. Bucnjim Says:

    Worst to first has been the crazy motto for this NFC South division since the beginning. Keep in mind that the Panther’s only won like what 6 games last year and now they’re being picked to win the division? I think it’s going to be a crazy year throughout the entire NFL next year. A lot of unexpected teams will surprise this season.

  5. k_bassuka Says:

    The offense was horrible too, one freaking first down in a half is straight up garbage, even worse than the defense if you ask me… @ least the defense had the young excuse…

  6. knucknbuc Says:

    Been saying this for a while with all the moves that we have made and with the talent we have I believe. It wouldn’t be a surprise to me if we made the playoffs. The talent is there and barring injuries to key players I could see us challenging for a wild card spot. The NFC is going to be massively talented this year and its going to be a dogfight with all trams to get in. Inmo 2 – 4 good times are gonna be left outta the postseason. Its gonna be alot about of who we beat and tiebreaker catchups. Playoffs would depend on how fast this coaching staff can get together and how the players grasp the new systems. I think talent wise tho were in contention.

  7. Miguel Grande Says:

    Negative? I was paraphrasing Jim Mora’s famous post game rant.

    I am very positive about the Little General and the 2012 version of my favorite team. Let’s just not crown them as champions while they are in the midst of one of the longest NFL losing streaks in NFL history.

    I am an unabashed homer when it comes to sports but let’s keep it real Pete.

    I agree with you on the Saints, they’re not dead until they lose their 9th game.

  8. T in Orlando Says:

    @ The Dutcher Journal

    Joe was saying the Saints could be easily leapfrogged (is that a word) IF Brees sits out; let’s face it, Brees is the offense; in which case I think you can discount them from an overall W-L record point of view (never discount any team on any given Sunday). Obviously if Brees plays, the Saints will have to be considered division/playoff contenders.

    Also, no where is Joe nor Jeff saying the Bucs would (or even could) win the Division. Jeff says that will likely be the Falcons, and Joe makes no mention of a division winner at all in this article.

  9. Garv Says:

    I’m looking forward to being in the hunt for a playoff spot in November and December. Going to games that count, excited crowds viewing exciting games.
    THAT’S fun, that’s what I expect every year and when it happens, it’s GOLD!!!

    So why NOT the playoffs this year? It’s what the fans and players want and what the players and coaches are working towards.

  10. MR.PATRICK Says:

    I would love to see the Bucs make the playoffs, and think that they actually have a shot. However, we Bucs fans cant expect too much too soon. This team was a mess last year and you can only do so much in one off-season. The thing I’m looking for is improvement and a change in effort and attitude. Then if the playoffs figure in then great.

  11. Patrick Says:

    1978: 5-11 1979: One game away from Superbowl

    2004: 5-11 2005: 11-5……Win the division

    2006: 4-12 2007: 9-7…..Win the division

    2009: 3-13 2010: 10-6

  12. Patrick Says:

    So therefore, I don’t think it’s a stretch at all. We’ve probably had one of the best offseasons in team history. Can’t remember a time where we made so many upgrades.

  13. Buxter Says:

    Anything can and does happen in this division and this seasonin particular will not disappoiint.

    Atlanta has a new OC and we’ll see how Ryan will do in the no huddle.

    Carolina is on the rise but will teams adjust to and shut down Newton?

    The Saints are centered around Brees and Sean Payton. One is out, the other may harbor some animosity. New DC and a few new players will be a factor too. As good? No. Left for dead? Hardly.

    The only thing the Bucs can do in dealing with the wholesale change is to keep it simple on both sides of the ball. If our offense can sustain drives, control the clock and make some plays in the red zone, anythiing is possible.

    Ask the 49ers about the playoffs.

  14. Dini's Biceps Says:

    @ 3:30pm on Sirius NFL Radio….Tim Ryan, has the Bucs finishing last in the Division (fyi). I think it’s possible due to health concerns on the D-Line & Suspect LB core

  15. Miguel Grande Says:

    I do remember making so many upgrades, that’s the problem. Every draft is great and wonderful until 3 years later and they’re all gone. Like every draft the Rockstar has run. Every free agent is a perfect fit until they get hurt, play poorly or get into the coach’s dog house.

    Remember Keyshawn at $10 million a year?

  16. flmike Says:

    I’m not taking anything for granted this season, if we go 8-8 I’ll be ecstatic, all I want to see is marked improvement in all phases and I think Schiano can deliver that, then we can see what happens as far as post season is concerned. My once concern is, we are going to have to pass more than Schiano or Sullivan wants to admit to, our D is absolutely going to have to improve by leaps and bounds for us to truly content this season.

  17. OAR Says:

    “…..in the midst of one of the longest NFL losing streaks in NFL history.”
    Our Bucs have “been there done that” at 26 straight, some 35 years ago. I’m pretty positive that wont be repeated or topped. Now, the Lions seem to have the most recent losing streak record down at 19. BTW a new HC cured that losing streak in three games. Im sure that will happen here.

  18. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Could Chad Ochocinco help us guys ?
    The Pats just cut him

  19. LetsGoFreeman Says:

    Cam Newton’s Panthers are THE team to beat this year. We have to get past the Panthers.

    Falcons/Saints = 2012 bottom dwellers.

  20. OAR Says:

    I dont think so. Jackson and our young WR corps should be fine this year. Afterall, new coaching and an actual offseason will do wonders for them, trust me.
    BTW I cant believe Ocho hasn’t picked or grasped theyre offensive playbook yet! He must be lazy or not very sharp.

  21. Chris@Apple Roof Cleaning Tampa Says:

    Ocho was not much of a factor in New England. But I agree, I look forward to the season. I see Tampa as coming in second behind Carolina.

  22. Eric Says:

    This could be the year we finally get by West Virginia.

  23. ClayBURN94 Says:

    Haha classic Eric ^^ What a moron.

  24. Thomas 2.2 Says:

    I predict: if Gerald McCoy plays 16 games and starts – 6-10; if Gerald is hurt or doesn’t start 9-7.

    Relax ladies, jk.

  25. Deminion Says:

    I’m sayin playoffs man

  26. Eric Says:

    With that schedule be damn lucky to win five.

  27. sharkcoasttactical.com Says:

    im just excited people are saying nice things about us

  28. Drew Says:

    The D will be fine, because the system will be different than anything we’ve seen in the past. It may even be scary. Looking back at last year one thing was very obvious. Raheem did not know how to put a D game plan together and Olsen did not know how to put an O game plan together. I believe we’ll all be pleasantly surprised with the results this year.

  29. Amar Says:

    Out of all the Josh Freeman pics Joe could have used, he used a pic where our franchise quarterback looks like the Grinch.

  30. Anti Anti-Free's Says:

    You anti-free’s should have your man cards rejected….Freeman is so much better than Tebow, and has outperformed Sanchez…at this point’ anyone that doesn’t like Freeman, has to be a Falgoon fan. And who was the idiot who actually wrote that Cam-Freakin’-Newton and the Stinkin’ Panthers are the team to beat? What planet do you live on?

    The best team in the division is Nw Orleans, and we have to beat the Falcons consistently in order to take their spot…but the playground team known as the Panthers crashes to Earth this year…along with the reincarnation of the original playground QB – Michael Vick-like Cam Newton.

    As I have said many times…at least we don’t have Tebow….