Bruce Arians has already helped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers improve upon last year’s 5-11 mark, but they still have a ways to go. The balance of power in the NFC South is shifting with the decline of the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons. If Tampa Bay wants to become relevant in the postseason the time to strike is now.
Arians — often referred to as the quarterback whisperer — has gotten an up-and-down year out of Jameis Winston at quarterback. Winston led the NFL in passing yards, but also became the first quarterback ever to record at least 30 passes and 30 interceptions in a single season. That’s not encouraging.
It’s obvious that Tampa Bay wants to believe Winston is a franchise quarterback, but that might not be the case. Sure, he has a ton of up upside, but his touchdown to interception ratio is concerning to say the least. He’s thrown 119 touchdowns and 86 touchdowns through five NFL seasons. Winston is a free agent after this season and the team has to decide if they want to sign him long term or use the franchise tag. If they choose the latter, they might use an early pick to find an insurance policy behind Winston for if he doesn’t work out.
Tampa Bay could also do a better job protecting Winston though. Its offensive line is among the league leaders when it comes to quarterback hits allowed. It has also allowed one of the lowest yards per carry in the NFL. Improving up front would help the starting signal caller and running backs out.
The 2019 NFL season is coming to a close and while the playoffs are just arriving, it’s time to start looking ahead to 2020. We won’t know the full regular season schedule until April, but even with the 2019 season not finished, we know each team’s list of opponents. The NFL has a formula they use to determine opponents, with divisions and conferences rotating each year.
The Buccaneers face their divisional opponents a total of six times. The NFC South faces the NFC North, which adds four more opponents. The NFC South faces the AFC West, which adds four more opponents. The final two opponents are the teams that finish in the same standing position in the NFC East and NFC West.