The Roundtable features the opinions of the PR staff as it tackles a topic each week that involves the Bucs.

This week’s topic: Predict The Bucs’ Finish

Scott Reynolds: Bucs Go 3-1 To Finish 10-6

Coming off the bye week, Tampa Bay needs to snap a two-game losing streak, and a three-game losing streak at home with a win over a surging Minnesota team at Raymond James Stadium this Sunday. The Vikings have won five of their last six games to improve to 6-6, and if they prevail, they will move ahead of the Bucs in the NFC wild card race by virtue of a tiebreaker as both teams would be 7-6. However, the only quality win the Vikings had during that stretch was at Green Bay. Every other team Minnesota beat had a losing record, and it took two come-from-behind victories over Carolina (4-8) and Jacksonville (1-11) last week to get the Vikings to 6-6. I think a rested and inspired Bucs team beats the Vikings.

Falcons head coach Raheem Morris

Falcons head coach Raheem Morris – Photo by: USA Today

The problem for Tampa Bay occurs the following week at Atlanta. The Falcons are 6-2 against the Bucs over the last four years, and swept Tampa Bay in 2017 and ’18 before splitting the series last year. Matt Ryan has proved to be tough at home during his illustrious career, and Atlanta is playing better, going 4-3 under interim head coach Raheem Morris, who began his NFL coaching career in Tampa Bay and won a Super Bowl with the Bucs in 2002. The Falcons have won two of their last three home games, including a 43-6 drubbing of the Las Vegas Raiders three weeks ago prior to losing a hard-fought game against New Orleans, 21-16. I think the Bucs lose at Atlanta, but beat the Falcons at home in Week 17.

The Bucs will also beat the Lions up in Detroit. Without a head coach and not much to play for, the Lions will be thinking about the holiday season and shouldn’t give Tampa Bay much of a fight. A loss at Atlanta the week prior will give the 8-6 Bucs all the motivation they’ll need to move to 9-6 when traveling to Detroit. A 3-1 record in December will give the Bucs a 10-6 finish, which will be good enough for Tampa Bay to make the playoffs for the first time since 2007 as the No. 6 seed.

Mark Cook: Bucs Win Out, Go 4-0 Down The Stretch

How good is this Tampa Bay football team? How good is this coaching staff? How good is this front office? With four games to go and coming off of a bye week, we are about to find out. The Bucs will be favored in all four remaining games, and really good teams beat the teams they are supposed to beat. First up are the Jekyll and Hyde Vikings that have come back in each of their last two games in the fourth quarter behind QB Kirk Cousins throwing for over 300 yards in both contests. Those games were against the Panthers and Jaguars, two teams they had no business trailing against to begin with. This is also a Minnesota football team that lost to Dallas. Yes, Dallas. So on paper at least, the the Bucs are the better team and should be able to win, even if it turns into an ugly win.

Bucs S Antoine Winfield, Jr.

Bucs S Antoine Winfield, Jr. – Photo by: USA Today

The next opponent scares me the most – the surging Falcons. Well, surging might be a stretch, but they have played much better since Raheem Morris took over for the fired Dan Quinn. Football is a game about match-ups as much as anything, and the Flacons offense and the Bucs defense isn’t a good match-up for Tampa Bay. Still, Atlanta is 4-8 for a reason. The Bucs will face them following the Vikings and then two weeks later to close the regular season. Again, good teams beat teams they are better than. Sandwiched between the two games with Atlanta is a trip to Detroit for the second year in row. Like the Falcons, the Lions are 5-7 for a reason. They aren’t very good.

I don’t expect a Super Bowl run this season for the Bucs. They have been exposed and shown to have too many deficiencies to win it all in 2020. But anything less than the playoffs would be a huge disappointment. Good teams beat the teams they should beat. The Bucs are a good team. Maybe not great, but good. Good enough to run the table and finish 11-5.

Jon Ledyard: Tampa Bay Wins Out En Route To 11-5

Make no mistake, the Bucs absolutely should win the next four games, heading to the playoffs at 11-5, likely as the fifth seed. If this team comes out of the bye with new focus, ready to compete and put aside the mistakes that have plagued it in its 7-5 start, the Bucs can still be one of the more dangerous teams in the NFC. All the pieces are in place for that kind of a run.

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians

Bucs head coach Bruce Arians – Photo by: USA Today

Still, it’ll be harder than it looked a month ago. The Vikings have won five of their last six to claw their way back to .500, although narrow, last-minute victories over the Panthers (4-8) and Jaguars (1-11) after falling to the Cowboys (3-8) may not inspire a ton of confidence. Still, Minnesota has a quarterback playing well and two devastatingly good receivers, which has been a recipe for disaster for the Bucs defense of late. Atlanta is also playing much better football under Raheem Morris, and even Detroit managed a comeback victory and 34 points against a good Bears defense on Sunday.

So the task is more difficult than it looks on paper, but the time for excuses has passed. If you believe the Bucs are a playoff team, they should win at least three of four. And if you believe they can truly compete for a Super Bowl in a parity-ridden NFC, you’ll pick them to win all four. I’ll still take it week-to-week with my game predictions, but as it stands right now coming out of the bye, if the Bucs can dodge COVID-19 outbreaks, they’ll be 11-5 at season’s end.

Matt Matera: Bucs Finish 3-1 For A 10-6 Record

It would normally be understandable to be most worried about next week’s game against the Vikings, but with Minnesota’s lackluster overtime victory over a one-win Jaguars and the Bucs having a week off to recharge the batteries, I’m confident that Tampa Bay comes out re-energized with a playoff push ahead. It’s really just a matter of what type of defense the Bucs play, because they only drop this if they let quarterback Kirk Cousins get hot playing soft-zone instead of getting in his face up the middle with linebacker Devin White getting home. 

We’ve talked about the Bucs not being consistent enough this season, however, the Detroit Lions haven’t been consistent since they became a franchise. The Bucs are just too talented of a football team to lose to a team like the Lions. As we’ve seen this year, Tampa Bay will beat the teams they’re supposed to beat, but struggle against the league’s best.

Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh

Bucs DT Ndamukong Suh – Photo by: USA Today

The thing that makes it so interesting when trying to accurately pick a Falcons game is that they’re one of the most unpredictable teams to watch. They’ve gone 4-3 since firing head coach Dan Quinn and general manager Thomas Dimitroff, with two of those losses coming against the Saints. A 24-9 defeat in Taysom Hill’s first start for New Orleans followed by a 43-9 thrashing of the Raiders just shows how all over the place they Atlanta can be. The Bucs haven’t swept a series over the Falcons since 2015 and have lost five of their last six match-ups against them. Does adding Tom Brady change that stat even when they play each other twice in four weeks? I think that trend continues as the Bucs drop one in Atlanta in Week 15, but win the last game of the season at home to get into the playoffs.

Taylor Jenkins: Bucs Rattle Off Four Straight, Finish 11-5

Coming off of two consecutive losses and a bye week, I think the Bucs are fully capable of winning all of the remaining games on their schedule. It’s not because I think that Tampa Bay is some unbeatable force, but I just believe that they’re a much better team than the Falcons and Lions and good enough that they should handle the Vikings with relative ease if they can avoid beating themselves.

Next up the Bucs face a surging Vikings team, winners of five of their last six contests, but their last two have been narrow victories over the Panthers and Jaguars with just one win over a team that’s .500 or better on the year. Then Tampa Bay will face the Falcons twice over their last three games with a trip to Detroit to in between.

Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett

Falcons QB Matt Ryan and Bucs OLB Shaq Barrett – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

The Lions currently sit at 5-7 but are also moving past a recent firing of the team’s general manager and head coach. Detroit answered the call, winning against the Chicago Bears this past weekend following the coaching change, but Tampa Bay is the better team in this match-up. And then the Falcons, a team that the Bucs have only swept twice since 2007. Atlanta has some narrow losses that may prove the team to be better than their 4-8 record shows, divisional meetings between the two teams are always dogfights and the Falcons are much-improved since the firing of head coach Dan Quinn including a huge 43-6 win over the Raiders in Week 12, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say the Bucs pull both games out. I don’t think the Bucs are perfect, but I think they will be fresh coming out of the bye week and take advantage by winning four games against three beatable opponents to round out the year.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at:
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GIJoeWasThere (@gijoewasthere)
11 months ago

You guys are much more optimistic than I am. I predict 2-2. They will lose to the Falcons and the Lions (because that’s what the Bucs do).

Horse (@horse)
11 months ago

Do I hope the Bucs go 4-0; of course.
Based on what I have seen so far this season, I see us going 9-7 or 10-6. This is based on our schemes we are presently using, and how slow we adjust to changing it during the game. Pass coverage is our Achilles Heel.

Buc76 (@jjjj)
11 months ago

Don’t be surprised in they go 7-9 or 8-8. Remember 2 games against the Falcons playing against 2 fired Bucs head coaches and Matt Ryan who wants some kind of revenge for losing the Superbowl to Brady. No way we beat them twice. Maybe once but I wouldn’t be surprised if we lose both games. Byron Leftwich is going up against Mike Zimmer this weekend. Who has the edge there? We look like a used car lot or a Pro Bowl team where no one knows each other. Bruce Arians has been hell bent on Byron Leftwich and its going… Read more »

Bucc My Life
Bucc My Life (@buccmylife)
11 months ago

Seems pretty far fetched that a team that is one missed field goal against the giants from .500 turning it around and going 4-0. The Vikings and Falcons are more formidable than their records suggest, and the Bucs tend to play these games closer than they should be. I think the Bucs finish 9-7 and lose in the wildcard round. Sorry, we’re 6-1 against losing teams and 2-4 against winning teams. I havent seen anything from Leftwich & Arians to suggest they’re capable of making the necessary adjustments, or operating outside of their scheme even if the opposing defense is… Read more »

Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
11 months ago

Really, nobody can predict with any confidence whatsoever what the results of the last four games will be. How many of us predicted the Buc would go 1-3 over the last four games, after starting 6-2? Not me, and not many if any either amongst the PR staff or us commenters. Indeed, how many of us predicted that the Saints would administer an absolute ass-whuppin’ in the second game against the Bucs this season? Pretty much everybody, including most of the media prognosticators, predicted a Bucs win in that game. The team has been underperforming the last four games. I’d… Read more »

BigSombrero (@bucwild02)
Reply to  Naplesfan
11 months ago

How many predicted the Bucs would go 1-3 in the 3rd quarter of the season?

At least 1 person did. 😎

Last edited 11 months ago by BigSombrero
Buc stops here
Buc stops here (@buc-stops-here)
Reply to  Naplesfan
11 months ago

Naplesfan, you criticized me earlier when I wrote that the Bucs were not going to do anything in the playoffs. I predicted before the quarter started they may go 2-2, perhaps 1-3 and was called negative and pessimistic on the old site. But it was the truth I believed in. Then they were destroyed by the Saints and 2-2 became a hope, that was dashed when they lost to the Rams as I felt no way they would beat the Chiefs – and they did not. Like it or not, as much as Arians has improved this team he has… Read more »

bucballer (@bucballer)
11 months ago

3-1 down the stretch sounds about right. U know guys, the thing that still annoys me the most is the inability of BA and his staff to utilize Brady and his talents and experience. How do u NOT build an offense that plays to Brady’s strengths? It’s just asinine that we continually talk about how this offense and Brady is like trying to put a square peg in a round hole. I, like most of u, was shocked when the Bucs signed Brady. I thought they did this with the thought that they would tweak BA’s offense to ensure his… Read more »

scubog (@scubog)
11 months ago

It’s a sad day in Bucville when the fans are so accustomed to disappointment that they have a hard time thinking their favorite team can muster a favorable record against four teams who will be picking in the first 10 Draft positions. This game against the Vikings should tell us a lot about the direction the team is headed. Let’s hope the coaching staff can put the team in a more favorable position to start the game instead of digging itself in a hole as it has most of this season. It’s mind boggling that Todd Bowles group of defenders… Read more »

surferdudes (@surferdudes)
Reply to  scubog
11 months ago

It’s games like, “you like that!” that make Buc fans skeptical. This game to me is the season. We let the Vikes come into our house, and take our playoff spot it’s over. Yeah we should win, but I might be watching peeking through the hands clinched to my face!

Buc stops here
Buc stops here (@buc-stops-here)
Reply to  surferdudes
11 months ago

I am with you sufferdudes. If they lose to the Vikings then this season is a disappointment as even they will be ahead of Tampa in the tie-breaker. Just like Chicago which now has a losing record. They can still make the playoffs as the last playoff seed but that just means a trip to Green Bay or Seattle or LA, depending which of the three are the #2 seed.

Captain Sly
Captain Sly (@captain-sly)
Reply to  scubog
11 months ago

How can you blame the fans for not believing in this coaching staff who can’t seem to get out of their own way, Do Tell! Then you say “this game against the Vikings should tell us about the direction of this team” Ahem that was the Bears game. Many of us have given up on this staff and have hopes that Brady and what ever greatness he has left can save this season. Because sitting back and hoping BA figures it out is a Fools Errand.

Naplesfan (@naplesfan)
Reply to  scubog
11 months ago

Maybe losing three of the last four games is what causes fans to face reality.

fredster (@fredster)
11 months ago

If had to bet I’d say probably they finish 10-6. Will lose to Falcons at least once I’m sure. They could easily finish 9-7 too. Will see how they come out after the Bye I guess. They went into the bye losing momentum and stinking on offense and defense especially first half of games. If they come out playing better and win out I’ll be shocked. The Rams and Chiefs were huge games too and they choked.

Dude (@dude)
11 months ago

Let’s just hope Tom Brady shows back up after the bye, instead of Tom Winston. Then we will have a chance to run the table. I also hope coach Bowles has fixed our ‘softness’ on defense that has allowed the Saints, Rams, and Chiefs, to torch us. Go Bucs!

Buc stops here
Buc stops here (@buc-stops-here)
11 months ago

Bucs beat teams with losing records. Vikings don’t have a losing record, are 6-6. However they cannot afford to lose to them because then they fall to the last spot in the playoffs. This week will determine if they stay relevant or not. Even if they win out and go 10-6 I don’t see Arians breaking his streak of losing playoff games.