Date and Time: December 23rd, 1PM EST
Location: AT&T Stadium, Dallas, TX
Line: Buccaneers +7, O/U 48
Bucs Eliminated From Playoffs, Now What?
Before last week’s game against the Ravens, the Bucs had very little chance to make the playoffs. But the path was still there. After the loss coupled with a Vikings win against the Dolphins, the Bucs are officially eliminated from the playoffs. The Bucs haven’t made the playoffs since 2007 and have only had three winning seasons in that time. With the season all but over, fans are now left wondering what’s next?
This team is obviously due to an overhaul. Just how far the ownership will go in purging the organization is up in the air for now. The best this team can do is 7-9 but that includes wins in this weekend’s game against the NFC East-leading Cowboys. Realistically the best they will ens up is 6-10. Can Koetter survive a second straight losing season? My guess is no. That would make Koetter 20-28 in his three years.
Players should be looking at these last two weeks against the Cowboys and Falcons auditions for a new regime. They can’t afford to just mail it in and give up playing. A number of position units, like the offensive line and the secondary, are going to be overhauled for sure, but these young draft picks in those areas need to show their value. Quarterback Jameis Winston also has a ton of eyes on him. A new general manager and/or head coach will be looking to see if they can bring out the best in Winston. The Bucs’ future could ride on the whether or not Winston plays well to end the season.
Cowboys Defense Set To Dominate Bucs Offense
It seems like the only silver lining on this year has been the play of the offense. For most of the season, this offense has been extremely fun to watch, moving the ball effortlessly. Injuries and an uneven line play have dragged them down a bit as of late, but the Bucs still rank third in total yardage.
Receiver DeSean Jackson is returning from injury but he is far from the answer to getting past this Dallas defense. The Cowboys have a number of playmakers that can wreak havoc all over the field. It starts up front with defensive end Demarcus Lawrence. After posting 14.5 sacks last season, he’s followed that with a just as impressive 2018 season where he’s posted 9.5 sacks thus far. Pro Football Focus has given Lawrence an 89.8 overall rating, which is fifth among all edge rushers. The Bucs offensive tackles are so bad it doesn’t matter who matches up with Lawrence. I expect to hear his name called a lot on Sunday.
As much as it pains me to say it, the Cowboys might have the best linebacking duo in the NFL. Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch have taken the league by storm this season. Smith is his second full season, and Vander Esch as a rookie, have both accumulated over 100 tackles each. PFF also has both in the top-10 among all linebackers, Smith 10th and Vander Esch 3rd. The Bucs will try to limit what both of them can do, but I don’t even think that’s possible. Both will have an impact against the run and the pass.
Prediction: Cowboys def. Buccaneers 28-13
Gambling this season? Want to try it just to see what it feels like? Go to MyBookie.ag and use promo code ARMCHAIR25 at checkout. They will match your deposit dollar for dollar. Putting in $100? You’ll now have $200.