TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Another slow start doomed Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But they get a bye week and that should give the Bucs more time to get their talented offense on the same page while working on getting their defensive house in order.
Look some Bucs fans had unrealistic expectations of what Tom Brady and this team could do. That said without a proper training camp, no preseason games and some later additions to the offense 7-5 is not a bad record and if the Bucs can get some mojo going in the final four games coming out of the bye then look out.
“We are as good as we want to be,” linebacker Shaq Barrett said. “We can compete with (anyone), but competing is not enough. We need to make the plays. We can’t just keep being close.”
The Bucs 7-5 playoff hopes are in their own hands at this point with just four more games to go in the regular season. They are still very much in the NFC Playoff picture with Seattle at 7-3, the Rams at 7-4 going after the West title, the Packers at 8-3 have all but locked up the North, we know the South is owned by the 9-2 Saints, while the East is still a three-team race with the Eagles, Giants, and Washington all with sub .500 records.
In the final four games, Tampa Bay will host the 4-7 Vikings on the 13th and then head to Atlanta to face another 4-7 team in the Falcons on the 20th before a day after Christmas game with 4 win Lions teams and the season-ender at home on Jan. 3rd to face the Falcons again.
So, the Buccaneers are firmly in control of their own fate as they can lock up a postseason spot by simply beating four teams that are all sub. 500 teams. Once they are in the NFC Playoffs then anything can happen, but first you have to get there.
On defense linebacker Devin White said. “We can’t wait until halftime to make the changes. We have to start faster and not let teams drive for touchdowns early in the game.”
Brady and the Bucs have lost to the Saints, Rams and Chiefs— all strong teams — during this poor home stretch. New Orleans leads the division at 9-2, and while the Bucs still are in good shape to make the playoffs as a wild card, they’re living dangerously.
“I think football is so much about being in that rhythm and staying in rhythm and finding your rhythm,” Brady said. “I think as we keep going forward, we are learning more and more about ourselves, about what we need to do. Going to get back to work and try and do a lot better of a job the last quarter of the season.”.