NFL 2024: The Goal for the Buccaneers is to beat more playoffs teams and win another NFC South and contend for a spot in the Super Bowl

Mayfield shines in final tuneup for regular season; Buccaneers hold off Ravens 26-20 ap/photo

By – Devin Sanguinett Special for Sports Talk Florida

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were at one point in the season looking completely dead at 4-7. But, they recovered to finish 9-8 and make the playoffs as the 4th seed.

Everyone knows that basically. However, what many people either don’t realize or don’t talk about is that the Bucs did this while barely beating playoff teams. Part of the reason they went on the losing skid is that they went through a gauntlet of playoff or fringe playoff teams. They went 1-5 against teams that made the playoffs last season. They beat the Packers and lost to the Eagles, 49ers, Bills, Texans, and Lions. And remember, at the time, the Packers were seen as a joke, at least on defense. They allowed Tommy Devito to beat them. Tommy Devito.

Why does this matter? Well, beating one playoff team in the regular season when almost half the schedule was one doesn’t reflect well on the team. When you win the division, it automatically means you have a harder schedule because you are also facing other division winners.

We of course do not know what teams on the Bucs schedule are making the playoffs in 2024, but we can make a few educated guesses. The 49ers, Chiefs, and Ravens seem like a pretty safe lock. The Lions will also probably make it (although the division could be in doubt because of Green Bay), Cowboys should also make it, and maybe the Falcons. That is seven possible games (two against the Falcons) against teams who will likely make the playoffs. And while any of these teams could suffer some unknown set-back, but another team could also make an unexpected push. The point is that the Bucs will face at least one playoff team in all likelihood.

While the Buccaneers did well, they need to prove they can face tough competition. to take that next step into greatness. Now, it’s not as if they were exactly blown out by playoff teams most of the time like 2022. They were mostly one or two score games. This isn’t bocce ball though, close ain’t enough. They need to finish the job. The Bucs had the same amount of wins against playoff teams as the Panthers. The Panthers win came against a team the Bucs couldn’t even beat, the Texans.

The real question is can the Bucs do it? Yes, but it will be incredibly difficult. They aren’t just facing playoff teams, but teams that will likely be in contention for the one seed in their respective divisions. The Falcons and Cowboys are the easiest potential playoff teams the Bucs will face. But I believe the offense will improve.

They have a better interior o-line that should hopefully run block and a more trusted WR3 (either Jalen McMillan or sophomore Trey Palmer). Beating a team like the Ravens and 49ers would be super difficult, but would prove the Bucs are a serious team.

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