It’s been six years since the Buccaneers posted a winning season (2010) and nine since they made the playoffs (2007), but this season may be their best chance to play in January since. Sure, an overtime loss in Week 8 to the beatable Raiders doesn’t help this cause, but Tampa Bay has already notched wins against its division rivals Falcons and Panthers, and the upcoming schedule looks favorable, including games against the Bears and the Chargers.
The Buccaneers’ offense has been hot and cold; it only put up seven points against the top-ranked Cardinals and Broncos, but also hung double-digit points on every other opponent. Tampa Bay’s defense—most notably the secondary—has been spotty as well, giving up the tenth-most passing yards per game. Some consistency, mixed with a little bit of luck, will prove necessary for any sort of playoff contention for the Bucs.