The 2018 season was one to forget for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The year did start off with some promise as the club opened it up with a pair of surprising victories, but the magic didn’t last. The team would win just three more games the rest of the way.
To begin the year, Ryan Fitzpatrick was behind center due to the suspension of starter Jameis Winston. Fitzpatrick went out and had perhaps the best stretch of his entire career, throwing for 1,230 yards and 11 TDs versus four picks over the first three games of the year.
The Buccaneers would stun the New Orleans Saints and Philadelphia Eagles in the first two of that stretch, but they came back to earth with a Week 3 defeat to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The record of 2-1 would prove to be the high point of the season.
When a team loses 11 of its final 14 games of the year, there’s a good chance that changes are on the way in the offseason. That was certainly the case in Tampa Bay, as veteran head coach Bruce Arians was lured out of retirement to take over.
Arians inherits a squad which has both talent and question marks, but the franchise did work towards answering some of them in the offseason. Winston now has a head coach who is known for getting the most out of signal callers, so he could be facing a make or break year.
The Buccaneers had little trouble putting points on the board last year, as they finished the season ranked 12th in the league in points for per game. Defense was a different story, as the club came in 31st for fewest points allowed per contest.
Looking ahead to 2019, the expectation from the NFL betting sites is that the Buccaneers will once again be bringing up the rear in the NFC South. The Saints are big favorites in the division, while both the Atlanta Falcons and Carolina Panthers have more favorable odds than Tampa Bay.
So what’s the story with the Buccaneers as 2019 approaches? Will Arians help to spark a turnaround or is another disappointing campaign on the way? Let’s take a closer look and find out, starting off with a recap of the 2018 season for the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 Season Recap
Record: 5-11 | Standings: 4-NFC South | Playoffs: N/A
The Buccaneers opened up the season in New Orleans as healthy underdogs to the Saints. Ryan Fitzpatrick was able to outduel Drew Brees to lead Tampa Bay to a surprising 48-40 win. The following week, the team would welcome the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles to town.
The clock didn’t strike 12 yet, as Tampa Bay was able to pick up another surprising victory, this time by a score of 27-20. Week 3 would bring a home date with the Steelers. Fitzpatrick would throw for 400+ yards for the third game in a row, but it wasn’t enough as the Buccaneers fell by a score of 30-27.
The air really came out of the balloon the following week when the club paid a visit to the Chicago Bears. The Buccaneers couldn’t get anything going on offense, falling by a score of 48-10. That sent the team into the Week 4 bye with a record of 2-2.
The week off didn’t inspire a rebound. The Buccaneers would win five of their next six games, with the lone outlier being a three-point overtime victory at home over the Cleveland Browns. The club would finally turn it around with back-to-back home wins over the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers.
Things went south once again. Tampa Bay would close out the year with four consecutive losses. From a surprising start of 2-0 to a final record of 5-11, it was tough sledding being a Buccaneers fan in 2018. Naturally, changes would become the top offseason priority.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Offseason Moves
Tampa Bay would waste little time in parting ways with head coach Dirk Koetter once the season wrapped up. Arians was hired soon thereafter to patrol the sidelines. Byron Leftwich is on board as offensive coordinator, and Todd Bowles has been brought on to lead the defense.
The team would lose players including WR Adam Humphries and LB Kwon Alexander in free agency, while wideout DeSean Jackson was shipped off to the Eagles. Signings included players such as S Deonne Bucannon, RB Andre Ellington, and WR Breshad Perriman.
The Buccaneers were on the clock for the 5th pick in the first-round of the NFL Draft. They would use the selection on LSU LB Devin White, a prospect who is expected to be an impact player on day one. Later picks included CBs Sean Bunting out of Central Michigan, and Jamel Dean out of Auburn.
Winston is entering his fifth year, and the clock is ticking on the franchise signal caller question. Peyton Barber leads the way out of the backfield, while Ellington and Ronald Jones should also see snaps. Mike Evans tops the wideout depth chart, with Perriman and Chris Godwin penciled in next.
O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate should both see targets at tight end. There was already some talent to be found on defense, and the club added even more with a big focus on shoring up the secondary in the offseason.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019 Schedule
|1||Sun. Sept.8||vs. San Francisco 49ers||4:25 PM||FOX|
|2||Thu. Sept.12||at Carolina Panthers||8:20 PM||NFL|
|3||Sun. Sept.22||vs. New York Giants||4:05 PM||FOX|
|4||Sun. Sept.29||at Los Angeles Rams||4:05 PM||FOX|
|5||Sun. Oct.6||at New Orleans Saints||1:00 PM||FOX|
|6||Sun. Oct.13||vs. Carolina Panthers*||9:30 AM||NFL|
|8||Sun. Oct.27||at Tennessee Titans||1:00 PM||FOX|
|9||Sun. Nov.3||at Seattle Seahawks||4:05 PM||FOX|
|10||Sun. Nov.10||vs. Arizona Cardinals||1:00 PM||FOX|
|11||Sun. Nov.17||vs. New Orleans Saints||1:00 PM||FOX|
|12||Sun. Nov.24||at Atlanta Falcons||1:00 PM||FOX|
|13||Sun. Dec.1||at Jacksonville Jaguars||1:00 PM||FOX|
|14||Sun. Dec.8||vs. Indianapolis Colts||1:00 PM||CBS|
|15||Sun. Dec.15||at Detroit Lions||1:00 PM||FOX|
|16||Sun. Dec.22||vs. Houston Texans||TBD||CBS|
|17||Sun. Dec.29||vs. Atlanta Falcons||1:00 PM||FOX|
*Game to be played in London
Tampa Bay opens up the year at home versus another squad which had a disappointing 2018 in the 49ers. It’ll be an interesting test for the two teams, as both have designs on a marked improvement in 2019. After the home opener, the Buccaneers will rack up some frequent flier miles.
The team will be on the road for three of the next four weeks. In Week 6, they head off to jolly old England for a game with the Panthers. The schedule makers didn’t do the Buccaneers any favors, and it doesn’t get any better after the Week 7 bye.
The club returns to action with two more road games in a row. On the bright side, the team will play five of its final seven games of the year at home. For a club with a goal of bouncing back after a disappointing season, the Buccaneers will have their work cut out for them.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019 Outlook
In the NFC South, it’s looking like the Saints and everyone else. However, the hiring of Arians could spark improvements on both sides of the ball in Tampa Bay. Let’s also not forget that they upset the Saints at home last year. Three wins is a reasonable ask for the six division games, but 2-4 is possible.
For the rest of the NFC schedule, the Buccaneers will be home for games with the 49ers, Giants, and Cardinals. They’ll hit the road to take on the Rams, Seahawks, and Lions. Tampa Bay should be able to get at least two wins here, while a mark of 3-3 is reasonable.
Interconference play for this year means games with the tough AFC South. The Buccaneers are home for the Colts and Texans, and on the road for the Jaguars and Titans. This part of the schedule is tricky, but the team should be able to pull out a win or two.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019 Win Total Odds and Pick
Here is where the oddsmakers have set the benchmark for the Buccaneers in 2019. Improvement over last year’s five-win campaign is expected.
Total Regular Season Wins:
Betting odds provided by: MyBookie.ag
The Buccaneers are an interesting storyline as we get set for 2019. Winston faces a critical year, but he has a coach in his corner who is known for getting the most out of the position. Improvement on defense is naturally a must, and that’s partially where the season hinges.
Tampa Bay faces a brutal travel schedule in the early part of the year, but the stretch run is much more friendly in that regard. We’re expecting improvement here, but we’re also tempering that with the schedule concerns.
We like the Buccaneers to hit seven wins this year, just barely clearing the Over.