Bucs Best In NFC South? Overreaction, But…

September 19th, 2023

Defense rules.

Joe caught some flack yesterday for suggesting the Bucs are playoff-bound.

Yeah, it’s premature. But Joe cannot overlook several stats that suggest the Bucs ought to be a playoff team, barring a horrific Raheem Morris-like collapse, after winning their first two games of the season.

Remember when, after a win over Drew Brees and the slimy Saints at home to go 4-2, the Bucs took off for London and never saw another win that season?

World-renowned JoeBucsFan.com columnist Ira Kaufman pointed out, since 1990, 64 percent of the teams that start 2-0 make the playoffs.

Jeff Kerr of CBS typed how the hype of the Bucs being the best in the NFC is a bit over the top. But the Bucs making the playoffs? Not crazy, he typed.

Baker Mayfield has the Buccaneers as the best team in NFC South
Overreaction or reality:

Mayfield has been impressive through two games, completing 69.1% of his passes 490 yards with three touchdowns and zero interceptions through two games (104.4 rating). Mayfield has been protected (only sacked once) and hasn’t fumbled, so no turnovers through two games.

The Buccaneers are 2-0 as a result of Mayfield’s good decision-making when not being pressured. He’s also getting the ball to Mike Evans, who has 12 catches for 237 yards and two touchdowns (19.8 yards per catch) through two games. The Buccaneers are doing enough on offense to match their very good defense.

Are they the best in the NFC South? It’s too early to make that claim. …Through two games, the Buccaneers certainly look like a playoff team — no matter who they’ve faced so far.

Joe suggests the Bucs are winning because of the defense, not so much Mayfield, although Mayfield is playing solid ball.

The Bucs took out Justin Jefferson in the second half in Week 1.

In Week 2, the dangerous runaround quarterback Justin Fields, who ran for 1,143 yards last year, was held to three yards rushing. Three!

It’s not like the Bucs offense is lighting things up. Don’t believe Joe? Just look at the scoreboard.

But the Bucs defense? It’s been playing close to lights out.

43 Responses to “Bucs Best In NFC South? Overreaction, But…”

  1. Proudbucsfan Says:

    The first thing we need to do is really get the run game going a lot better. We need a back like Ronald Jones. The 2020 Ronald Jones, a back that hits the whole hard and decisive without dancing around and keeps those legs churning.

  2. VATom Says:

    I re watched the game. No offense to the D…the stats have been great, BUT, they have been BENDING a lot. It is going to be interesting to see them face a solid team. Hopefully the bend don’t break holds up. The splash plays and turnovers have been noteworthy.

    I have been really impressed with the new Offense. However, even Evan’s yds in the Bears game looked heavily biased due to weak coverage/scheme/defense. Don’t get me wrong, good teams take advantage of the weaknesses of their competitor. And that’s what the Bucs have done. But I am waiting to see a couple games against higher tier teams before breathing easier.

  3. PewterStiffArm Says:

    If we are updating our running attack it won’t be with the addition of Kareem Hunt. Nick Chub went down with an awful injury in Pittsburgh last night. This is what happens when a team rides a running back to death. That’s all that Cleveland had offensively in the running back room. Kareem would have been good for us with his fresh legs.

  4. DoooshLaRue Says:

    No, that’s not what happens when you use a player a lot. It’s the NFL and injuries are very common.
    Chubbs’s injury last night was just one of things, unfortunate angles.

    Look at what happened in training camp with Ryan Jensen.
    Stuff happens.

  5. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Proudbucsfan Says:
    September 19th, 2023 at 4:47 am
    The first thing we need to do is really get the run game going a lot better. We need a back like Ronald Jones. The 2020 Ronald Jones, a back that hits the whole hard and decisive without dancing around and keeps those legs churning.
    The last thing the Bucs need is a RB like Ronald Jones. He’s not good at receiving or pass blocking, so it tips the defense that it’s gonna be a run when he’s in the game. You didn’t notice that the years he played for the Bucs?

  6. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Ronald Jones had 70 yards rushing. For the year. In 2022.

  7. Beej Says:

    “The Buccaneers are 2-0 as a result of Mayfield’s good decision-making when not being pressured”

    When pressured, he clearly makes even BETTER decisions

  8. AnonymousBuc76 Says:

    I’ll happily eat crow as long as Baker keeps playing well and the team is winning…

    I knew our division would be weak this year and I definitely was happy to see the Saints sign Derek Carr; he’s the most overrated QB in the league…and he’s horrible in the RedZone in particular…

  9. Todd Says:

    I think Mayfield has earned the right to go ahead and move into the Raymond James stadium.

  10. Thisisouryear!! Says:

    Mayfield has been impressive. It’s refreshing to see a qb elude the rush and still make good decisions. I think Evans is having fun again.

  11. Defense Rules Says:

    Joe … ‘Are they the best in the NFC South? It’s too early to make that claim. If Mayfield keeps playing mistake-free football, Tampa Bay will be a threat to win the division and make the playoffs.’

    Exactly Joe, it’s much too early to tell. ‘Mistake-free-football’ is the key IMO because previous Bucs’ teams have had a tendency to beat themselves. Right now we’re sporting a extrapolated Turnover Differential of PLUS 42 over a 17-game schedule. Wonder what odds Vegas would give us on that actually happening.

    Since we’re apparently trying to mirror Seattle’s offense, it’s interesting to look back to last year & see how they did in the first 2 games. Seahawks were 1-1 at this point (beat Denver 17-16 but lost to San Fran 27-7). Geno Smith was throwing at a 79.6% completion rate for 392 yds & 2 TDs). Had 0 INTs in the Broncos game, but 2 INTs in the 49ers game and that did them in. Turns out that winning an NFL game when you lose the Turnover Differential 3-0 are very very low. Whodathunkit?

  12. garro Says:

    Nailed DR! We do not have a good enough offense to overcome mistakes. Turnovers and penalties will doom us this season.

    It also looks to me like the Refs will be an opponent again this year. Two total BS calls not to mention the replay crap.

    Go Bucs!

  13. Bucs33Saints14! Says:

    I feel like we are playing as a team. Baker is definitely playing very well, but he has great targets in the WRS plus Otten grabbed all of his targets. White had 100+ total yards. The Bucs have a history of making questionable QBs look all world — Fields looked good on the 2 TD drives. Like VATom said, the D was bending a lot, but Shaq broke them in the end.

  14. adam from ny Says:

    philly ain’t all that…

    hopefully we also hold hurts to 3 yards rushing on monday night…

    let him beat us with his arm…yeah he’s better than fields…better field vision and all – but he’s overrated imho…

    let’s whoop philly on ronde barber night…

    also i hear ronde just might have a mcnabb voodoo doll tucked away in the inside pocket of his sports coat, and a pocket full of pins 🙂

    early game prediction…not etched in stone…still super early in the week……..bucs 27-23

  15. HC Grover Says:

    Have to sweep the division.

  16. Pewter Power Says:

    I watched the saints and Carolina last night and they are both hot garbage. Saints offense is sluggish. The only team doing anything is Atlanta but it’s only on the ground.

    I want to see what happens when someone does a good job limiting Atlanta offense. I also want to see what it looks likes when the Bucs can’t run the ball and might and Chris are covered well

  17. Since76 Says:

    Canales is calling a lot of short to intermediate passes. Baker got away with one he threw right to a breaking defender. Hopefully he keeps playing turnover free football. But again bowles can’t keep putting his foot on the brakes on offense when we are up 7 or more points. The worst teams have enough talent to overcome small deficits. LFG!!

  18. Duane Says:

    It’s pointless to argue over stuff that hasn’t happened yet.

    That’s why they play the games.

    CAN the Bucs win the NFC South this season? Yes, of course, any of the four teams can win the division … until they can’t

    WILL the Bucs win the NFC South this season? That is unknowable until it is known.

  19. Duane Says:

    Since 76 – you didn’t watch the game I watched, because Todd Bowles certainly did NOT put his foot on the brakes.

    Since when did Todd Bowles direct his players to commit offensive fouls, holding penalties and pre snap penalties, that obviously killed our last three drives of the second half? Really, you actually believe that?

    You don’t think he didn’t want his offense out there on the field, making third down conversions, killing clock time with a lead, with the likelihood of getting at least a field goal if not a TD on each of those killed drives?


  20. adam from ny Says:

    as of rn, atlanta might be the most competition for us…

    saints look decent…

    carolina and their wasted draft pick of a qb, have frank reich starting to get worried, and wondering why he signed up for the job

  21. Paratrooper Buc Says:

    It’s too early but it’s a good start. Our biggest strength is defense. Our offense is ok but you can see things are coming together. My concern is opposing defense are beginning to expect our plan and sending a guy after Mayfield. In our division, Falcons are a run threat. Saints Defense is good but offense is like ours, still coming together. Carolina defense doesn’t seem bad but rookie QB is making mistakes. We stay healthy and Mayfield plays smart, then we will do well.

  22. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I thought the Saints would dominate that game more than they did but either their offense was bad or the Panthers were better than I gave them credit for.

    In general scoring is down in the NFL through two weeks which seems to be the case the last few years ever since they stopped playing as many preseason games or practicing as much.

    Our offense looks amazing compared to the Steelers lol. What a freaking joke Canada has going on there.

  23. adam from ny Says:


    hey thanks for the confounding hyperbole…

    but will we win the division on a spiritual level…


  24. 757Buc’em Says:

    No overreaction at all. After watching the Aint’s and Kitty Katz play last night The project birds are our only threat in the division. Saints look bad to me, it’s like no one knows they’re playing football when it comes to offense. Their defense has holes #56 isn’t one to play with or around

  25. HC Grover Says:

    To beat the Philthy Eagles we will deploy the DSD. Double Spy Defense.

  26. NE Fan Says:

    The standings have Bucs at #3 in the South. Strength of schedule. Two tomatoe can games.

  27. adam from ny Says:

    NE Fan:

    in here subtly chopping us down again

  28. NE Fan Says:

    Adam, not chopping you down, listing facts. You beat the 32nd and 29th worst teams in the league and none in your division. You are what you are!!!

  29. BillyBucco Says:

    The Saints get Kamara back for the game against us so I think that will open up the offense a tom for them. Taysom Hill worries me. He might have broke rins after one hit I saw last night. One can hope.
    With Philly, their world renown defense is giving up 24 points a game to teams that haven’t won yet.
    They are banged up too and lost Avante Maddox for the season.
    We need to actually win a toss for once and defer so our defense gets the first crack. They will be fired up and are our more veteran unit, so let the jitters subside for the offense.
    Let’s freakin Go Bucs.
    I hope EVERYTHING bounces their way.

  30. orlbucfan Says:

    Let’s not forget the job Keith Armstrong is doing with ST. Yeah, they had that one blocked play, but Camarda, the nuclear bomb punter, more than made up for it. It’s way too early to predict division wins. I just want the Bucs to play well against the Iggles and refs.

  31. adam from ny Says:

    NE Fan:

    we see you shifting from fake fan to troll…we see you guy

  32. Glass Half Full Guy Says:

    I think after 2 games each our division is exactly as most thought it would be before week 1. Up for grabs. The general consensus prior to Game 1 was:

    Atlanta will have a very good ground game. Check
    N.O. and Carolina will have tough defenses. Check
    Our Bucs….a decent defense, big question marks on HC, new OC, o-line, run game and of course, Mayfield.

    I think the D has been great, Bowles has them well-prepared, o-line is already starting to show very good signs and hopefully improves our run game and Canales, while not really flashing anything that says “genius” yet appears to make good in-game adjustments. Baker is exceeding expectations because he’s playing his game and within himself, not being asked to be “The Hero” and so far it’s paying off in smart decisions and no turnovers.

    As for NE Fan “But who have they played?” I get the point but every game is about match-ups and taking away your opponent’s strengths and exploiting their weaknesses. The D got after Cousins and made great adjustments to take Jefferson out of the game in the 2nd half against Minnesota. Also as Joe pointed out, we took away the Bears’ biggest offensive threat (Justin Fields’ legs). That’s good coaching and execution.

    The “tale of the tape” doesn’t always mean the boxer with the best reach, height and weight advantage will win. Even cry-baby Mac Jones with a group of no-name receivers kept the game close against Philly and minus a couple of bad plays, might have even won, so that bodes well for the Bucs with our WRs as long as Baker has time (slow down Philly’s strength .. pass rush) and contain Hurts, their other strength. It will be a good test for the coaches as much as it will be for the players.

    As Tyson said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” Both teams this week will come out swinging. Let’s see how they react to getting hit. The Bucs are big underdogs, but so was Buster Douglas.

  33. Larrd Says:

    The OL will continue to jell and improve. It is clear Baker clicks all right with Evans and Godwin. The Bucs could wind up being the most balanced team in the league, let alone the NFC South. They are clear favorites, IMO.

  34. NE Fan Says:

    Glassman@ I agree, any given Sunday. Shutting down one weapon versus multiple weapons is the true test. Bucs have not face an elite D yet and haven’t seen them in the 11th hour losing and backs against the wall. I don’t believe those factors would affect Baker, Evan’s and Godwin but it may Bowels, Canalas and especially the oline & D.

  35. Eric Says:

    Saints and Panthers did not look like world beaters last night. Expecting ugly close games with those two as usual.

    Atlanta may be a problem, but hardly unbeatable.

  36. unbelievable Says:

    Definitely too early to call us the best in the NFC, or even playoff bound.

    We’ve beat 2 poor teams, yes that’s true. But these are games that playoff teams are supposed to win, so we’re starting off the right way. now these next 2 games will be much tougher tests, as both have far better defenses than we’ve faced, and Philly is a much better offense than CHI or MIN.

    If the offense can continue to not commit turnovers, I like our chances against anyone. But we are not built to come from behind if we fall into a hole, so it’s imperative that we play balanced football on both sides. And need to keep the penalties down like we did in week 1! I fear how many holding calls we might have against Philly and New Orleans d-lines…

  37. bucsfan951 Says:

    What type of person, who clearly is a fan for another nfl team, comes into another teams fan site to talk ish?

    Like, what type of loser does this person need to be? If everyone just stopped talking to that person and just talked around him, perhaps they would just go away.

    i guess what i am saying is, stop feeding the useless troll and practice self control.

  38. Tampa Bay-ker Says:

    I watched the first two games with NO and CAR. We can beat them easily. I haven’t watched the Falcons yet.

  39. Mike Johnson Says:

    Still W-A-Y to early to say who’s the best. Lets beat the Eagles 1st. And deal with the Falcons and Saints. They are not exactly pushovers. And all of you know our regular season track records against New Orleans. Long season guys. 15 more games to be played. Anything can and will happen.

  40. Pickgrin Says:

    Bucs are averaging 23.5 ppg through 2 games.

    If they can wind up with the same 23.5 ppg average through 17 games – we are looking at an 11-6 team. 10-7 at worst.

    The next 3 games – Philly at Home Monday Night, at the Saints and then Detroit at home coming off the bye will determine how good this team can be…

    Lose all three and we probably aren’t a playoff team….

    Go 1-2 in those games and its still a maybe at 3-2….

    But if we somehow come out of the next 3 game stretch with a 4-1 record – then we can start talking about playoffs with some high degree of probability.

  41. NE Fan Says:

    Pickgrin, if you go 5-2 do you go to the SB? bucsfan@ I don’t need rebuttals to voice my opinion. In most cases they are ridiculous like Pickgrins post.

  42. Power Of Pewter Says:

    The 2 wins are nice, but let’s not overlook the fact that those 2 opponents are both 0-2. Even Philly’s 2-0 record is suspect as their opponents are both 0-2, Philly and Tampa both having played the Vikings of course. It’s really too early to declare the Bucs a playoff team. Wait until they beat a team with a winning record. Wait until they defeat New Orleans and Atlanta.

  43. Proudbucsfan Says:

    Joe in Michigan you clearly didn’t read my comment, I said the Ronald Jones of 2020. And if you watched the Arians offense no risk it no biscuit. You would have seen how simple it was the opposing defense always knows what’s coming and they still couldn’t stop it just like Lombardi’s Packers