NFL Season Preview: Boom or Bust for the Tampa Bay Bucs in the NFC South

Posted on: August 25, 2022, 02:00h. 

Last updated on: August 25, 2022, 02:15h.

For the third consecutive season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a Super Bowl contender, with quarterback Tom Brady still playing. If Brady plays, then whatever team he is on will be a favorite to win. Whether it’s the division, conference, or Super Bowl, his history of winning is unparalleled.

QB Tom Brady
QB Tom Brady takes to the field before a 2020 game between the Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons. Will he take his team to the Super Bowl this year? (Image: Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Tampa Bay, however, isn’t searching for division titles this year. They have one goal on their mind: to win the Super Bowl, where they have the second shortest odds in the league of winning at +700, just behind Buffalo, who are +600 to win it all.

At -300, Tampa Bay is the biggest favorite to win their division in all football. The reasons why are clear — Brady’s controlling the offense. But he’ll be missing tight end Rob Gronkowski, wide receiver Antonio Brown, and guard Ali Marpet, two of them retired and one who walked away. On the plus side, there’s a healthy Mike Evans returning at receiver.

New head coach Todd Bowles takes over for Super Bowl winner Bruce Arians. Bowles is a defensive coach versus Arians’ emphasis on offense, which will be a change to watch.

As for the other teams in the division: New Orleans is always one of the league’s better teams, but questions about about how the team will play without longtime coach Sean Payton. Atlanta has also won its share of NFC South titles, but it lost veteran quarterback Matt Ryan, who was traded.

Saints on Bucs’ Tails

The New Orleans Saints begin life without Sean Payton with a +350 chance of winning their division this season. Dennis Allen takes over and is given his second chance to coach in the league. He coached the Oakland Raiders from 2012-2014, leading them to an 8-28 record before he was fired.

At +3500 to win the Super Bowl, oddsmakers are giving the Saints a chance to make the playoffs.

Jameis Winston will likely be the starting quarterback for New Orleans, and as a former No. 1 overall draft choice, he certainly has the pedigree to compete. With a division that includes Carolina and Atlanta, it looks like there could be some winnable division games this year for New Orleans.

See ya, Panthers

At +1000, the Carolina Panthers are being given little chance to win the NFC South, and they aren’t even the worst team in the division, according to the projections.

Running back Christian McCaffrey looks healthy this season. But whether he can make it through a full year remains a question. Injuries have limited him to just 10 games over the past two seasons. The team imported former Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield, a former No. 1 overall draft pick, and named him their starter. Mayfield is coming off shoulder surgery and a rocky relationship with his former team, so he’ll have something to prove.

At +6600 to win the Super Bowl, Carolina sits in the same area as the NFC East’s Washington Commanders, who don’t seem to have a chance to win as they enter the new season.

Even Worse for Falcons

In Atlanta, life without Matt Ryan begins as Marcus Mariota will start the season as the Atlanta Falcons quarterback.

At +2500 to win the NFC South, the Falcons have the longest odds of any NFC team to win their division. The odds climb if they’re to win the Super Bowl. The Falcons have +12,500 odds to win the Super Bowl, making them the second-longest shot to win the big dance as we enter the year.

Only the Houston Texans at +17,500 have longer odds to win the Super Bowl.