Bucs Ranked Least ‘Vulnerable’ Division Winner Heading Into 2022

For the higher a part of a decade and a half, the Bucs have been a safer guess to complete third or fourth within the NFC South than they have been to win it. That modified in 2020 when the staff signed Tom Brady. But, the addition of the best quarterback in NFL historical past wasn’t sufficient for Tampa Bay to win its first division title since 2007 — a minimum of not immediately.

The Bucs couldn’t recover from the New Orleans Saints-sized hump within the 2020 common season, Brady’s first 12 months on the town. They did, nevertheless, go on to win the Tremendous Bowl. Each staff within the league would commerce a division championship for the Lombardi Trophy. That doesn’t imply the staff wasn’t intent on claiming the division crown in 2021. Regardless of failing to beat New Orleans within the common season, Tampa Bay did simply that. The Bucs finally ran away with the division, ending 13-4.

The division appeared to be up for grabs heading into 2022 when Brady retired again in February. Nonetheless, his return stabilizes the Bucs. That’s why it’s no shock to see that CBS Sports activities’ Cody Benjamin ranked them because the 2021 division winner that’s the least “weak” to lose their title heading into the brand new season.

“Look no additional than the person below middle. Ever since Tom Brady returned from ‘retirement,’ [the Bucs] turned the story of the NFC, if not the NFL,” Benjamin wrote. “The transition from Bruce Arians to Todd Bowles on the sidelines is an underrated X-factor, however Brady’s nonetheless in his prime at 44, and his weaponry stays elite. In the meantime, the Saints are performing like they’re nonetheless in competition however have questions at QB and coach, the Panthers are in the identical boat, and the Falcons could have the league’s worst roster.”

Bucs Will Be NFC South Favorites, However Want To Clear Immovable Hurdle

There’s no query that the Bucs have the very best roster within the NFC South heading into the brand new season. After Brady’s return, basic supervisor Jason Licht went to work. He re-signed Ryan Jensen, Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and Carlton Davis III whereas additionally including Shaq Mason, Russell Gage, Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal. The draft class addressed some urgent wants, specifically with second-round choose Logan Corridor anticipated to step in and begin because the staff’s 3-technique defensive deal with with Ndamukong Suh wanting unlikely to return.

Bucs QB Tom Brady and TE Rob Gronkowski – Picture by: USA Right this moment

Tampa Bay actually nonetheless has some query marks on its roster. Will Rob Gronkowski return? May the remaining months of the offseason see an addition or two to shore up the staff’s move rush? Are there sufficient in-house choices for key depth roles on the protection? Even with these questions, the Bucs are in pole place to repeat as NFC South champions for the primary time of their historical past.

The Panthers and Falcons pose little to no risk as issues stand proper now. However the Saints, who’ve confirmed to be the Bucs’ kryptonite in recent times, nonetheless stay an impediment to clear. In fact, Tampa Bay did not beat New Orleans in both assembly final season and nonetheless received the division. However snapping a seven-game dropping streak in opposition to their rivals must be a purpose for Brady and the Bucs this fall.

The Saints added some important items this offseason, with security Tyrann Mathieu and receiver Jarvis Landry among the many newest. They’ve additionally misplaced key contributors in security Marcus Williams and left deal with Terron Armstead. Even with a query mark at quarterback and a training change, it’s no shock that they’ve the second-best odds to win the division.

The 2 groups will first meet in Week 2, with the Bucs touring to New Orleans. The Saints will then come to Raymond James Stadium for a Monday Night time Soccer matchup in Week 13.