Had the Tampa Bay Buccaneers front office brass heeded my calls to ditch former head coach Dirk Koetter prior to the 2018 regular season, they could have avoided their second straight pitiful campaign, but of course, the NFC South cellar dwellers didn’t listen. The good news is that the Bucs have finally come to their collective senses and hired former Cardinals leader Bruce Arians, a household name of a head coach that is widely respected throughout the NFL.
Whether the addition of the two-time AP NFL Coach of the Year helps polarizing quarterback Jameis Winston to live up to his status as a former No. 1 overall pick while lifting the Bucs to brand new heights or whether Tampa Bay struggles in Year 1 of their new era, there are definitely a ton of things you need to know about the new-look Buccaneers before they take to the gridiron for the 2019 NFL regular season.
Let’s get down to business.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2019 NFL Season Betting Guide
- ATS: 5-11 (W-L) / 8-7-1 (ATS) / 4-4-0 (Home) / 4-3-1 (Away) / 4-7-0 (Grass) / 4-0-1 (Turf)
- O/U: 9-7-0 (W-L) / 3-5-0 (Home) / 6-2-0 (Away) / 6-5-0 (Grass) / 3-2-0 (Turf) / 53.8 (Total)
Last season, Tampa Bay got off to a nice 2-0 start by upsetting New Orleans and Philadelphia as former journeyman quarterback stepped in for a suspended Jameis Winston for the first four games of the season. Unfortunately, the Bucs then lost seven of eight games to finish at an underwhelming 5-11. The good news is that the Bucs managed to post a solid 8-7-1 ATS mark while also going 9-7 against their Over/Under totals, in large part because of their inability to stop their opponents.
- Total Yards: 415.5 / Rank 3
- Passing Yards: 320.3 / Rank 1
- Rushing Yards: 95.2 /Rank 29
- Points Scored: 24.8 / Rank 12
- Field Goal %: 74.1 / Rank 29
Last season, the Bucs finished a surprising third in total offense and even more surprising first in passing, but they struggled run the ball by ranking a dismal 29th in rushing. To address their needs on the offensive side of the ball, Tampa Bay re-signed tackle Donovan Smith, quarterback Ryan Griffin and Peyton Barber while signing veteran wide receiver Breshad Perriman in free agency.
- Total Yards: 383.4 / Rank 27
- Passing Yards: 259.4 / Rank 26
- Rushing Yards: 123.9 /Rank 24
- Points Allowed: 29 / Rank 31
- Field Goal %: 91.3 / Rank 28
The Bucs were a complete mess on defense as they finished 27th overall, 26th against the pass, 24th against the run and a pitiful 31st in points allowed (29.0 ppg). To address their many needs on the defensive side of the ball, the Bucs signed former Broncos linebacker Shaquil Barrett, former Cardinals linebacker Deone Bucannon and former 49ers punter Bradley Pinion in free agency. Tampa Bay also added LSU linebacker Devin White with the fifth overall pick in the draft before adding Central Michigan cornerback in the second round. Tampa Bay continued to look to improve their defense by drafting Auburn cornerback Jamel Dean and Kentucky safety Mike Edwards, both in the third round.
- Touchdowns: Mike Evans (9)
- Rushing: Peyton Barber (871)
- Passing: Jameis Winston (2992)
- Receiving: Mike Evans (1524)
- Sacks: Jason Pierre-Paul (12.5)
- Interceptions: Andrews Adams (4)
Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans recorded a team-high nine touchdowns while posting his fifth straight 1,000-yard campaign in as many seasons in the league. Third-year running back Peyton Barber rushed for a team-high 871 yards, but averaged a paltry 3.7 yards per carry. Veteran defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul recorded a team-high 12.5 sacks in his ninth season and first with Tampa Bay. Third-year defensive back Andrew Adams recorded a team-high four interceptions.
I love Tampa Bay’s hiring of Bruce Arians, but if Jameis Winston doesn’t get his act together under the ‘quarterback whisperer’ then it might not matter much how good of a coach Arians is, especially seeing how mediocre Blaine Gabbert and untested Ryan Griffin are the backups.
In addition to that, the Bucs have six super-difficult matchups against their NFC South division rivals, two of whom will be gunning to get back in the playoffs after missing out a year ago (Carolina, Atlanta). Tampa Bay also has some difficult non-division matchups against the Rams, Titans, Seahawks, Jaguars, Colts and Texans. Right now, I’m thinking it will take a minor miracle for the Bucs to get to 8-8, but it could happen if Winston lives up to the talent that made him the top pick in the 2015 NFL draft.