December 3, 2023, 1 pm Eastern, Raymond James Stadium
The above when and where begs the revelation of who. The who are the Carolina Panthers? But what does it all mean, you might ask? And, I would tell you that the NFL game on that Sunday is the only game out of 17 that Draft Kings (the oddsmakers) had the Buccaneers favored in. I, myself, didn’t give the Bucs a very favorable preseason prediction, but at least I had them winning 8–9 games. Sports Illustrated’s Conor Orr predicted the Bucs to go 2-15, saying that the team would be “overmatched” this season. He went on to elaborate on the overmatched comment. ” I don’t know how Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask will pilot a team through some rough pockets of games, including Weeks 11 to 16, where they face two legitimate Super Bowl contenders, along with some burgeoning teams that should be rounding into form by then.” Orr wrote. The SI staff writer claimed that the Bucs would only beat the Falcons and the Panthers once. Madden 2024 ran through the Bucs season and came up with a record of 1-16. ESPN had the over/under for the Bucs at 6.5 for wins. Will Brinson from CBS Sports predicted a record of 5-12. Pro Football Focus gave the Bucs an under 6.5/win. Gilberto Manzano, another SI staff writer, predicted the Bucs at 4-13. I could, of course, continue on with more examples. What would it serve, though? You get the picture.
Brady’s departure was seen as catastrophic to the bottom line
Just about everyone, but not all, envisioned the Tampa skyline as decimated, with the city burning to the ground when Tom took his circus off-line after the 2022 season. Then, the Bucs signed Baker Mayfield in free agency to lead the team into the post-Brady era. It’s obvious that the majority of those who are supposed to know all about making predictions and odds for 2023. Did not see Mayfield as much of a solution, and who can blame them, really? Todd Bowles and Jason Licht weren’t drinking the Kool-Aid, bringing in Dave Canales from the Seahawks to replace a fired Byron Leftwich; they were betting that would suit Mayfield’s style to a tee. So far, the plan is going as planned, and Baker Mayfield has found new life to a career most had bet was over. Being the first walk-on in college football to win the Heisman, Mayfield is all about beating the odds. Go Bucs!!