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September 2, 2014 @ 3:40 pm
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Pewter Predictions: PR Forecasts 8-8 Record For Bucs

Written by Scott
Scott Reynolds


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Pewter Report analyzes the Buccaneers’ 2014 schedule game-by-game and projects an 8-8 record for Tampa Bay. Adjustments to new schemes and questions regarding the Bucs' O-line keep Tampa Bay from making the playoffs in 2014.
How will the Buccaneers fare during Lovie Smith’s first season at the helm in 2014? A four-game improvement over last year’s 4-12 record would be a step in the right direction for Tampa Bay and a step closer to the playoffs in 2015.

WEEK 1 – Bucs vs. Panthers
Tampa Bay is going to have to play “Buc Ball” in order to beat the defending NFC South champions in the season opener. That means creating takeaways on defense and winning the field position battle on special teams, in addition to playing mistake free on offense. Quarterback Josh McCown is going to have to be efficient with the football and the offensive line will have to protect him and open holes for Doug Martin. Tampa Bay’s defense catches an injured Cam Newton and a young receiving corps at the right time to win a close ball game in Week 1.
Bucs Win (1-0)

WEEK 2 – Bucs vs. Rams
As legendary linebacker Derrick Brooks enters the Bucs’ Hall of Fame, Tampa Bay’s defense plays well against an injury-depleted St. Louis. For the second straight week, the Bucs’ offensive line will have to hold up against a ferocious pass rush by the front four. If McCown can stay up right and find Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans downfield for some big plays, the Bucs could win another low-scoring game and start the season 2-0 in the NFC and 2-0 at home.
Bucs Win (2-0)

WEEK 3 – Bucs at Falcons
Tampa Bay travels to Atlanta to face the Falcons on a nationally televised Thursday Night Football game in the Georgia Dome. The Falcons are trying to make amends for last year’s disappointing season, and the revved up atmosphere at home will make things challenge for the Bucs’ fledgling offense. Atlanta’s revamped defense will put the clamps on the running game and Tampa Bay’s defense will have a hard time containing Roddy White and Julio Jones in the team’s first loss of 2014.
Bucs Lose (2-1)

WEEK 4 – Bucs at Steelers
The Steelers are a shell of their former selves especially offensively as Ben Roethlisberger is without the star performers he used to have as targets. It won’t be easy for the Bucs to win on the road, but a solid showing by Tampa Bay’s defense, led by linebacker Lavonte David, keeps Pittsburgh’s point production down while Martin and tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins work the middle of the field in the running game and passing game, respectively to get the Bucs’ third win of the season.
Bucs Win (3-1)

WEEK 5 – Bucs at Saints
The Bucs used to play New Orleans well on the road, but that was before the arrival of Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, who turned the defense into a top 5 unit. The combination of Ryan’s defense, led by defensive end Cameron Jordan, and the crowd noise will make things difficult for McCown and Tampa Bay’s offensive line. Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees has enjoyed a lot of success playing against the Bucs defense and it continues in Week 5.
Bucs Lose (3-2)

WEEK 6 – Bucs vs. Ravens
Smith wants the Bucs to go undefeated at home in 2014, but the Ravens deny that opportunity. A balanced Baltimore offense led by Ray Rice and Joe Flacco keeps Tampa Bay’s defense off balance all day, and the smothering Ravens defense keeps the Bucs offense in check. The Ravens’ talent and 3-4 scheme gives Tampa Bay’s offensive line fits as the Bucs lose back-to-back games and fall to .500 heading into the bye week.
Bucs Lose (3-3)

WEEK 7 – Bye Week

WEEK 8 – Bucs vs. Vikings
With a week to prepare for Minnesota, Smith gets Tampa Bay back on track with a win. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and the Bucs’ defensive line bring the pass rush and stuff Adrian Peterson as Jackson and Evans shine in the passing game for the Bucs’ offense. Tampa Bay gets a lopsided win at home to improve its record to 4-3 on the season.
Bucs Win (4-3)

WEEK 9 – Bucs at Browns
The Bucs will get their first shot at former Heisman Trophy-winning QB Johnny Manziel, who is contained by Adrian Clayborn and Michael Johnson and spied by David. Tampa Bay’s secondary shuts down Cleveland’s poor receiving corps as the Bucs offense puts up the points in another rout, which improves the Bucs’ record to 5-3 in 2014 and has the fan base thinking playoffs.
Bucs Win (5-3)

WEEK 10 – Bucs vs. Falcons
With the offense and defense playing well together, the Bucs get some payback against the Falcons at home with the team’s third-straight win. Matt Ryan is under siege from a relentless Bucs’ blitz, led by middle linebacker Mason Foster, and the secondary is able to limit the big plays of Jones and White in the passing game. Martin and Bobby Rainey key a ball-control running game that chews up the clock for a key NFC South victory.
Bucs Win (6-3)

WEEK 11 – Bucs at Redskins
The Bucs typically don’t fare well in Washington, and this year’s game is no different. The Redskins’ 3-4 defensive scheme causes problems for Tampa Bay’s efforts to spring Martin loose and protect McCown. New Redskins head coach Jay Gruden gets some revenge against the team where his NFL career started and the team that fired his brother, Jon, with a big NFC win for Washington as quarterback Robert Griffin III beats the Bucs with his arm and his legs.
Bucs Lose (6-4)

WEEK 12 – Bucs at Bears
Smith’s homecoming against the Bears, his former team, is foiled by Chicago’s stout defense and a great performance by quarterback Jay Cutler, who picks apart the Tampa 2 scheme he faces every day in practice. The Bears’ experience gives them the winning edge in a rout that sends the Bucs to their second straight defeat and puts their playoff hopes in jeopardy.
Bucs Lose (6-5)

WEEK 13 – Bucs vs. Bengals
Former Bengals left tackle Anthony Collins, defensive tackle Clinton McDonald and Johnson all get a shot at their former team when Cincinnati comes to town. The Bucs desperately need a win to avoid sinking back to .500 and the defense comes alive to create takeaways and help Tampa Bay win the turnover margin as Martin runs wild through Cincy’s defense. The Bucs head out for a crucial, two-game road trip with a 7-5 record.
Bucs Win (7-5)

WEEK 14 – Bucs at Lions
The Bucs barely beat the Lions last year in Detroit, and it will be payback time when Tampa Bay comes calling again in 2014. Ndamokung Suh, Nick Fairley and Ezekiel Ansah wreak havoc in the trenches and the Matthew Stafford-Calvin Johnson connection gives the Lions a hometown advantage in a close game that doesn’t go in the Bucs’ favor.
Bucs Lose (7-6)

WEEK 15 – Bucs at Panthers
The Panthers have the chance at revenge for their Week 1 loss at Raymond James Stadium when the Bucs visit in December. The loser of this contest could be eliminated from playoff contention in the NFC. Newton has developed chemistry with his receiving corps as the season unfolds, and Carolina’s front four pressure McCown into costly mistakes in the Panthers’ close win over the Bucs.
Bucs Lose (7-7)

WEEK 16 – Bucs vs. Packers
Faced with the necessity of winning its last two games of the season to have any shot at the postseason, Tampa Bay falters at home against a more experienced and talented team in Green Bay, who is fighting for playoff positioning in the NFC. Pro Bowl quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a handful and the Bucs can’t win a shootout against a high-powered offense. The loss prevents Tampa Bay from reaching the postseason and the chance at a winning record in 2014.
Bucs Lose (7-8)

WEEK 17 – Bucs vs. Saints
The Saints come into Raymond James Stadium with the NFC South title already wrapped up and only playoff seeding to play for. The Bucs are ready for the rematch and have tightened up their defense since being picked apart by Rodgers and the Packers the week before. Smith and his team end the 2014 season on a high note with a win, an 8-8 record and some momentum heading into 2015.
Bucs Win (8-8)

2014 BUCS SEASON OUTCOME: The Buccaneers have a full season under their belt when it comes to digesting and executing Jeff Tedford’s offense and the Tampa 2 defense installed by Smith and run by defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier. By the end of the season, the Bucs will know whether to extend the contracts of Foster and Clayborn, whether McCown is the answer at QB in 2015, an what the team’s needs are in free agency and the draft. More importantly, an 8-8 record represents improvement from the 4-12 record the Bucs posted in 2013 and should springboard the team into playoff contention next year.

New Orleans Saints – 11-5

As long as Brees is the quarterback, Ryan runs the defense and head coach Sean Payton is calling plays, there is no reason why New Orleans shouldn’t win the NFC North division as long as the team stays reasonably healthy.

Carolina Panthers – 9-7
The Panthers take a step back from being the NFC South leader, but the combination of a stout defense led by Luke Kuechly and Greg Hardy and the dynamic playmaking of Newton will keep Carolina in the playoff hunt for a wild card spot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 8-8
Tampa Bay falls short of the playoffs, but doesn’t post a losing record in Smith’s first season leading the Buccaneers. But improved play from the offense and defense has things looking up in 2015.

Atlanta Falcons – 7-9
Atlanta also shows improvement from a disappointing 4-12 season in 2013, but didn’t make the kind of strides Mike Smith was hoping for as the Falcons need more playmaking athletes on defense to contend for the division title again.
Last modified on Tuesday, 02 September 2014 16:07

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  • avatar

    6-10.....hey did you PR guys hear Steve Deumig trashing you Buc beat writers as if you don't know what it's like to write about the team. That guy is some cut-up, isn't he? Bucs beat Panthers, Falcons twice, Rams, Browns, Vikings = Six Wins.
  • avatar

    This is a tough one to call this year because we haven't seen the offense do much of anything. My heart wants to say 8-8, but my mind thinks 5-11 or 6-10, which would still be improvement. I hoping I'm wrong.
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