So far, I’ve been satisfyingly wrong!
Leading up to the season, I predicted the Bucs to finish 8-9, 9-8 at best. I also said it was only a matter of time before Baker Mayfield played his way out of the starting job. The latter of the two predictions may still happen. At this time, it is looking less and less possible. That is a very good thing, despite the fact that I prefer Kyle Trask over Mayfield all day long. All I want is for the team to win, to surprise everyone, and just win baby!!! In the end, it doesn’t matter to me which combination of players or who is starting at which position; if the result is winning, I’m all for it. So, I will hit the reset button and give you my take on the season that remains before us at the bye. My take is, considering that Baker Mayfield continues to protect the football and plays balls-to-the-wall football.
What lies ahead
First up, the Bucs will host the Lions at RayJay. These are not your father’s Lions; this team can play and is getting better every season. They are not Philly tough, but they will beat you if you don’t have your A-Game going. I can see this one going either way, but at home, I’m giving it to the Bucs by 4. Next, the Bucs are still at home as the Falcons come into town. The Falcons will run you to death behind rookie sensation Bijan Robinson and Tyler Allgeier. Second-year wide receiver Drake London is a stud but doesn’t get the workload he should in such a run-heavy offense. In last year’s end-the-regular-season game against Atlanta, London had a banner day, going over a hundred yards receiving in the game that Tampa lost. This first matchup with them in 2023 is on Dale Mabry and will find the Bucs down early, but they rally and will win this one as well, record: 5-1. The Bucs go on the road to New York to take on the Buffalo Bills. The Bucs go up early but lose to the Bills by 13, record: 5-2. Another road game, this time in Houston, will put us up against the Texans. I’m going to hear it for this one, but the Bucs always lose to a team or two that they should beat. This team may very well be one of them; the Buccaneers would then be at 5-3. Next up is the Titans at home. The Bucs have trouble with Derrick Henry, but pull this one out at the end on a field goal, record: 6-3. Then it’s out west to San Francisco and the 49ers. This team may be the best in the NFC, and they show it, beating the Bucs by two touchdowns, and Mayfield throws two interceptions in a loss, record: 6-4. Then it’s on the road again to face the Colts, led by rookie quarterback Anthony Richardson out of the University of Florida. Richardson is on his way to changing the luck of quarterbacks from Gator Nation in the NFL. The Bucs have trouble with AR15; it goes to over-time, but the Bucs ultimately win the contest, record: 7-4. Then it’s back home to take on the Panthers, where the Bucs encounter little resistance in an easy win, record: 8-4. Next, the team takes to the road again just north of us to Atlanta for the second matchup of the season with the Birds. The Bucs take a hard-luck loss in Coca-Cola country, record: 8-5. Then it’s on to Cheddar Country and the Green Bay Packers. Jordan Love and the boys hand the Bucs another loss, record: 8-6. The Bucs return to RayJay and take on an in-state rival Jaguars squad. Despite loads of talent on the Jaguars, the Bucs prevail in this one, record: 9-6. The Saints come to Tampa and leave with an L to go with the one the Bucs handed them in week #4, record: 10-6. Finally, the team travels to Carolina to put a beat down on them for the second time this season, record: 11-6. So you may not agree with me, and the exact wins and losses team-wise may be off, but I feel the Bucs will finish 11-6 in 2023. What do you say? Go Bucs!!