The Tampa Bay Buccaneers made a significant change at the quarterback position, as future Hall of Famer Tom Brady is replacing Jameis Winston. He is coming off of being the first player in NFL history to have 30 touchdowns and 30 interceptions in the same season.
Winston, who underwent LASIK eye surgery during the offseason, is now the third-string quarterback with the Saints while Brady is joining a Tampa Bay team that should look similar to last year’s squad. Head coach Bruce Arians, offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich, and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles all return for 2020, as Arians looks to make the playoffs for the first time since 2015 when he was the head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
There are a few notable changes to the Buccaneers roster, including a former offensive player for the New England Patriots. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has 79 career touchdown catches and three Super Bowl championship rings, blocked well in Weeks 1 and 2. Then, Tampa Bay let Gronk loose in Week 3, and he contributed six catches for 48 yards.
The Buccaneers also grabbed fourth-year running back Leonard Fournette, who was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Fournette has taken a back seat to starter Ronald Jones II, but the Buccaneers must be glad to have strong depth at the position.
Although Tampa Bay has had the well-known names, the team’s offense is in the middle of the pack in points scored. Meanwhile, it is the seventh-ranked defense carrying the team to a 2-1 start to the season.
Read Also: New Orleans Saints Predictions and Odds
2020 Buccaneers Draft Picks
Tristan Wirfs, OT (Iowa)
Antoine Winfield Jr., S (Minnesota)
Ke’Shawn Vaughn, RB (Vanderbilt)
Tyler Johnson, WR (Minnesota)
Khalil Davis, DT (Nebraska)
Chapelle Russell, LB (Temple)
Raymond Calais, RB (Louisiana)
Notable Other New Faces for the Buccaneers
Tom Brady, QB
Josh Rosen, QB
Leonard Fournette, RB
Kenjon Barner, RB
Rob Gronkowski, TE
Ryan Succop, K
Notable Buccaneers in New Places
Jameis Winston, QB – New Orleans Saints
Peyton Barber, RB – Washington Football Team
Dare Ogunbowale, RB – Jacksonville Jaguars
Breshad Perriman, WR – New York Jets
Ishmael Hyman, WR – Carolina Panthers
Jordan Leggett, TE – released
Beau Allen, DT – New England Patriots
Carl Nassib, DE – Las Vegas Raiders
Kendell Beckwith, LB – released
Deone Bucannon, LB – released
Deiondre’ Hall, CB – released
M.J. Stewart, CB – Cleveland Browns
Matt Gay, K – Indianapolis Colts
Elliott Fry, K – Atlanta Falcons
Notable Buccaneers on the Injury Report
Leonard Fournette, RB – out for Week 4 with an ankle injury
T.J. Logan, RB – placed on injured reserve with a knee injury
Chris Godwin, WR – out for Week 4 with a hamstring injury; missed Week 2 as well
Scott Miller, WR – questionable for Week 4 with a hip injury
John Franklin, WR – placed on injured reserve with a knee injury
Travis Jonsen, WR – questionable for Week 4 with a quadriceps injury
John Hurst, WR – placed on injured reserve with an ankle injury; expected to return for Week 4
Antony Auclair, TE – placed on injured reserve with a calf injury; expected to return for Week 5
John Molchon, OG – placed on injured reserve for an undisclosed reason; expected to return for Week 4
Jason Pierre-Paul, OLB – questionable for Week 4 with a knee injury
Sean Murphy-Bunting, CB – questionable for Week 4 with a hamstring injury
Justin Evans, SS – placed on the Physically Unable to Perform List with a foot injury; expected to return for Week 8
Buccaneers Who Have Opted Out of 2020 NFL Season
Brad Seaton, OT
Buccaneers Offense Predictions
Heading into 2020, Tom Brady has begun the season 0-1 three times in his career, and he has made the Super Bowl all three of those years. Buccaneers fans hope that he can make it four Super Bowl appearances following an 0-1 start.
He has plenty of options on the football’s offensive side, but his team needs to be more disciplined. When Brady was in New England, his Patriots did not commit many penalties. However, the Buccaneers are among the most penalized teams in the NFL. Through three games, they have more than 70 penalty yards per game this season.
Brady has a 65.1 percent completion rate, 753 passing yards, six touchdowns, and three interceptions through three games. The Buccaneers signed former first-round pick Josh Rosen, who will be on the practice squad, as quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Ryan Griffin back up Brady.
The six-time champion quarterback is very important to the Buccaneers’ success, but he is now 43 years old. Tampa Bay hopes that he stays healthy for the duration of his two-year, $60 million contract.
Buccaneers Running Backs: Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette Are a Dynamic Duo While LeSean McCoy Can Contribute by Catching Passes
Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette are the Buccaneers’ two primary running backs, and LeSean McCoy is the pass-catching back for the Buccaneers.
While Jones leads Tampa Bay in touches, rushes, and rushing yards, Fournette has a team-high two rushing touchdowns and 5.1 yards per carry. Tampa Bay’s running backs are aplenty, as they also have former Jaguars running back Dare Ogunbowale.
Buccaneers Wide Receivers: Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, and Scotty Miller Are All Important to the Buccaneers in 2020
The Buccaneers wide receivers have not been healthy thus far in 2020. Early in the season, Mike Evans was limited, and then Chris Godwin was forced to miss Week 2. Second-year wide receiver Scotty Miller is also dealing with a hip injury.
Even Justin Watson, the team’s fourth wide receiver, has dealt with shoulder issues. Evans (10 receptions and four touchdowns this season), Godwin (11 receptions and one touchdown), and Miller (10 receptions) have contributed impressively thus far. Still, they will have to avoid the injured reserve list for Tampa Bay to make the playoffs.
Buccaneers Tight Ends: Tampa Bay Has Two Productive Tight Ends, but Who Will Perform Better in 2020?
Rob Gronkowski is the big-name tight end on the team, but it is fourth-year tight end O.J. Howard, who has received more targets than Gronkowski through three weeks. Each of them has eight receptions, and Howard is one of the two who has scored this season. Gronkowski did have the better Week 3, though, so it will be interesting to see which of these two finishes the season with the better-receiving numbers.
Read Also: Atlanta Falcons Predictions and Odds
Buccaneers Defense Predictions
While the Buccaneers offense is the one that is grabbing the headlines, the defensive unit is the better of the two thus far in 2020. Tampa Bay’s defense has not ranked in the top 10 since 2010 and has not ranked in the top five since 2007.
If the Buccaneers defense keeps up with the pace of allowing the seventh-fewest points and fourth-fewest yards, then Tampa Bay can win in the playoffs.
Tampa Bay has forced seven turnovers thus far this season, and ILB Lavonte David is responsible for two of them. He is the only player on the team with an interception and a fumble. He also has the second-highest number of tackles (24) this season, with ILB Devin White leading the team with 33 tackles. White also has the most solo tackles (20) of any Tampa Bay defensive player.
Read Also: Carolina Panthers Predictions and Odds
Buccaneers Special Teams Predictions
Veteran kicker Ryan Succop is in his first season with the Buccaneers after spending six years with the Tennessee Titans. Succop will not be handling kickoff duties for Tampa Bay. Sixth-year punter Bradley Pinion is in his second year with the Buccaneers, and he has 16 kickoffs with all of them, resulting in touchbacks.
Meanwhile, Succop has been relatively successful kicking in 2020 after struggling last year. Since missing his first field goal attempt of the season, he has made his last four field goals. Succop has made eight of his nine extra-point attempts.
In 2019, Succop missed five of his six field-goal attempts, but the Buccaneers think that he will continue to have a bounce-back season.
Buccaneers Head Coach Predictions
Bruce Arians made his head coaching debut with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012 when he took over as the interim head coach for the ailing Chuck Pagano. Fortunately, Pagano’s health improved, and he spent five more years as the head coach of the Colts while Arians was hired for the Arizona Cardinals head coaching job. Coincidentally, Arians coached the Cardinals for five years as well. After one year as a broadcaster for CBS, the two-time NFL Coach of the Year joined the Buccaneers.
Although Arians struggled to the tune of a 21-39 NCAA record, his time in the NFL has been a lot more successful. His assisting coaching career includes two Super Bowl championships, and he has a professional head coaching record of 67-42-1.
Arians also broke into the NFL as the quarterback’s coach for the Colts. He then headed to Cleveland and Pittsburgh before his second stint with Indianapolis.
Buccaneers Predictions for Week 4
The 2-1 Buccaneers opened as a 4.5-point favorite against the visiting 1-2 Los Angeles Chargers. The line has since ballooned to seven points while the over/under has dropped from 45.5 to 43 points. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert seems to be in for another start for the Chargers.
Although he is 0-2 since taking over for Tyrod Taylor, Herbert has surpassed 300 yards in each of his first two starts. Herbert scored multiple touchdowns in the Chargers’ Week 2 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs but had just one touchdown in Week 3 against the Carolina Panthers.
Brady, the No. 199 overall selection in the 2000 NFL Draft, will take on 22-year-old Herbert, who was the No. 6 pick in 2020. Brady last faced Anthony Lynn’s Chargers in 2017 and threw for 333 yards and connected with Gronkowski for a touchdown in New England’s win. Tampa Bay is a strong bet to win Sunday’s contest, but seven points are just too much. If the line drops to 6.5 points, then there is value in taking the Buccaneers.
Buccaneers Predictions for 2020 Season
Under Jameis Winston, the 2019 Buccaneers went 5-9-2 against the spread. With Tom Brady, the Buccaneers appear to be a public team, but they have covered each of their two victories. The Buccaneers’ only loss against the spread thus far in 2020 was when they were a four-point underdog in Week 1 against the Saints and fell by 11 points.
The 2020 over/under for the Buccaneers was 9.5 wins, and there still is a decent chance that they will win double-digit games. Unfortunately, the Buccaneers are overrated with their +1500 Super Bowl futures odds. They are tied with the Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints, and Pittsburgh Steelers for the fourth-highest odds. There is not enough value to take Buccaneers at this point.
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