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FAB 1. Bucs’ Game-By-Game Predictions

In Wednesday’s Pewter Report Roundtable, I predicted an 8-8 season for the Buccaneers. I believe Tampa Bay will show improvement this year mostly due to the new schemes and coaching staff, but that a very demanding schedule, a young secondary, and a suspect offensive line will likely hold the team back from making the playoffs in 2019.

Still, an 8-8 record would be a three-win improvement over the last two years, and a significant step forward for this very young Bucs team, which only has four players on the roster age 30 or older, including outside linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul (30), safety Darian Stewart (31), defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (32) and right tackle Demar Dotson (33). Tampa Bay has 14 players age 23 or younger, including its first-round draft pick, inside linebacker Devin White, who is the youngest at age 21.

So how do the Bucs get to 8-8, which is a better record than most NFL legal online betting sportsbooks forecast? It begins with a strong start to the season, an understandable rough patch in the middle of the 2019 campaign as Tampa Bay goes seven weeks without another game at Raymond James Stadium, followed by a solid finish and a victory in the season finale.

Week 1: Bucs vs. 49ers – WIN

The Bucs beat the 49ers last year in Tampa Bay, 27-9, without facing quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. San Francisco returns to Raymond James Stadium, this time with Garoppolo and former Bucs middle linebacker Kwon Alexander, but the outcome will remain the same. Tampa Bay is the better team, and defensive coordinator Todd Bowles’ blitzing scheme will win the day as the Bucs offense will struggle.

Week 2: Bucs at Panthers – LOSS

If Tampa Bay can somehow manage to steal an early season road win against divisional opponent Carolina on Thursday night it could change everything for the 2019 Bucs. But that’s a tall order as Tampa Bay’s offensive line has notoriously struggled against the Panthers’ powerful front, especially in Carolina. Last year the Panthers prevailed 42-28 as their offense ran roughshod over a befuddled Bucs defense. This year, Cam Newton and Co. win a close one on national TV as Tampa Bay falls to 1-1.

Week 3: Bucs vs. Giants – WIN

The Bucs get back in the win column in what will be their last home game until November with a win over an inferior Giants team. This is the third straight year the Bucs and Giants have battled, and it’s been a field goal difference in each contest. Not this year as the Bucs offense comes alive and Tampa Bay’s defense overwhelms Eli Manning so much that rookie Daniel Jones winds up finishing the game. The Bucs need to be at least 2-1 at this stretch to avoid a losing season. Mission accomplished.

Week 4: Bucs at Rams – LOSS

The travel trouble begins in Week 4 at Los Angeles against the defending NFC champion Rams. The Bucs get trounced on both sides of the ball in an ugly loss that might remind some of last year’s Week 4 debacle in Chicago. Tampa Bay slides to 2-2 on the season before another tough road trip – this time to New Orleans.

Week 5: Bucs at Saints – LOSS

Bucs TE Cam Brate
Bucs TE Cam Brate – Photo by: Getty Images

The Bucs go out of the frying pan and into the fire as they travel to face the defending NFC South champion Saints. Tampa Bay scored an opening season surprise win last year at the Superdome, but New Orleans will be ready this time. The Saints are on a mission this year to win the NFC and defeat the Bucs in the fourth quarter to maintain supremacy in the division. Tampa Bay falls below .500 for the first time this year at 2-3.

Week 6: Bucs vs. Panthers (in London) – WIN

In what is a really third straight road game for Tampa Bay, the Bucs host the Panthers in London, a place they’ve lost their two previous overseas games over the last decade. Tampa Bay’s defense gets the best of Newton and the offense comes to life to put on a show for the Brits. This much-needed victory gets the Bucs back to .500 at 3-3 before the bye week.

Week 7: Bye Week

Week 8: Bucs at Titans – WIN

Tampa Bay travels to Tennessee to take on a struggling Titans team. This game is also a chance for Jameis Winton to extract some revenge on Marcus Mariota, who outplayed him in their rookie debut in 2015, which was a huge win for the Titans that day. Winston outduels Mariota, who has a rough day courtesy of outside linebackers Shaquil Bennett, Carl Nassib and Jason Pierre-Paul, who returns from his neck injury to help the Bucs improve to 4-3.

Week 9: Bucs at Seahawks – LOSS

The Bucs’ brutal five-game road stretch comes to an end out west in Seattle where the Seahawks are tough to beat at home. It’s a forgettable day for Winston and the offense as Tampa Bay loses an early lead and the Bucs defense doesn’t have enough to stop Russell Wilson. Tampa Bay slips back to .500 – a familiar place – with a 4-4 record.

Week 10: Bucs vs. Cardinals – WIN

The Bucs have a triumphant return home to face a very young and inexperienced Cardinals team. Arians and Tampa Bay’s coaching staff came from Arizona, so the team will want to win this game for them and will do just that. Kyler Murray is harassed into sacks and turnovers as the Bucs record a blowout win as Winston is really grasping Arians’ offense by midseason. Tampa Bay improves to 5-4.

Week 11: Bucs vs. Saints – LOSS

Bucs QB Jameis Winston - Photo by: Mary Holt/PR
Bucs QB Jameis Winston – Photo by: Mary Holt/PR

This is the Saints’ year as they come into Raymond James Stadium, fall behind early but rally for the win behind the arm of Drew Brees, who picks on Tampa Bay’s young secondary – just like last year. Like the loss in Week 2 at Carolina, this one stings, as it alters the Bucs’ course for the playoffs. Tampa Bay is back at .500 with a 5-5 record.

Week 12: Bucs at Falcons – LOSS

The Bucs are still in the hunt for a playoff spot in Week 12, which is a good thing. The problem is that the Falcons are too, and they are tough to beat in Atlanta. Matt Ryan and his array of weapons led by Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley have their way with the Bucs’ young secondary, following a blue print laid out by Brees and the Saints the week prior. This divisional loss hurts, and the Bucs fall to 5-6 on the year.

Week 13: Bucs at Jaguars – WIN

Tampa Bay gets a needed bounce-back win on the road at Jacksonville in a low-scoring contest in which both defenses rule the day. Bowles’ unit has more success in forcing takeaways and that along with a last-minute Matt Gay field goal proves to be the difference for the Bucs, who improve to 6-6 and get back to .500.

Week 14: Bucs vs. Colts – WIN

Indianapolis is without Andrew Luck, but that doesn’t mean they are an easy win. Jacoby Brissett has enough weapons around him to be dangerous, and the Colts defense can be formidable. Yet this is a must-win game for the Bucs to stay alive for the postseason and they deliver at home with a close win. Tampa Bay is now 7-6 and controls its own playoff destiny.

Week 15: Bucs at Lions – LOSS

Every year it seems the Bucs always seem to manage to lose a game they should win, and this year’s gaffe game is in Detroit. The Bucs are better than the Lions, but Matt Stafford gets hot and never cools off, while Winston can’t match him in the Motor City. The Bucs’ playoff hopes take a hit in this crushing loss on the road as the team returns to .500 with a 7-7 record.

Week 16: Bucs vs. Texans – LOSS

The Bucs still have a shot at a 9-7 record and a wild card playoff spot, but Houston is on a playoff hunt of its own and comes into Raymond James Stadium and scores an upset courtesy of Deshaun Watson and J.J. Watt. With its playoff hopes dashed, the big question for the 7-8 Bucs is whether the team finishes 7-9 or 8-8 the following week.

Week 17: Bucs vs. Falcons – WIN

Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Bucs WR Mike Evans – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

Tampa Bay shows some resolve and knocks Atlanta out of the playoff hunt with a season-ending win to get back to 8-8. The Buccaneers feel good heading into the 2020 offseason with a lot to build on from the 2019 campaign and a hunger and taste for the playoffs the next year.

Tampa Bay finishes with a 6-2 at home and 2-6 with close regrettable losses at Carolina, at Atlanta and at Detroit, in addition to a home loss against Houston that ultimately cost the Bucs a long-awaited playoff berth. Defending the Bay is important, and the Bucs learned how to do that this year under Arians.

But a 2-4 record in the NFC South division is disappointing and will be the focal point for Tampa Bay’s personnel acquisitions in the offseason. Getting players that can match up against Atlanta, Carolina and especially New Orleans twice a year will be paramount for Arians and general manager Jason Licht as the Bucs knock on the playoffs door this year, and kick it in next year in 2020.

While I predicted an 8-8 for Tampa Bay this year, others on the PewterReport.com staff did not. We had one Pewter Reporter forecast a 10-6 finish for the Bucs, while three others had a 7-9 prediction. Be sure to read the new PR Roundtable for all the details.

Now that we’ve rolled through the 2019 season game-by-game, let’s take a look at which stars will shine bright this season in Tampa Bay. Click on the next page for the Bucs’ 2019 Season Pewter Predictions.

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Scott Reynolds is in his 24th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com 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 son's Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: [email protected]

24 COMMENTS

  1. Well, one thing is for sure: it never works out like we think it’s going to. Some team will get a big injury (or two), some team won’t suffer any (hello Atlanta 2016 season), some players will nose-dive their careers and some player(s) will emerge across the league to be the “next great things” that currently look like JAGs.

    I’m sticking with 16-0 at this point.

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  2. Think if they can roll the Lions and Texans, they’ll still take care of the Colts and Falcons. The pass rush will be in full effect and are able to give the offense enough chances to figure it out. Optimistic of course. This offensive line really makes you go hmmm….

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  3. As for Devin White not being named team captain no big deal. He’s going to have enough on his plate without having to also carry the C on his chest. Besides, how do you vote a rookie who’s never taken a snap in an NFL regular season game a team captain? I think he’ll be wearing that C for years to come, but it has to be earned, he hasn’t done anything in the NFL to earn it. The big surprise for me is Nissab. Didn’t know he was so well respected, and such a character. A defense needs a fire starter, they take that lead. Maybe that’s why we were so ho hum it’ll be O.K. when McCoy was here.

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  4. Poor offensive line play can be overcome by proper scheme. The success or failure of this season is in the lap of Byron Leftwich & Todd Bowles. Every NFL team has weaknesses but the good ones know how to manage their Weaknesses while capitalizing on their Strengths. Bruce Arians is tasked with maximizing the talent we have on this roster and not make excuses for scheduling,injuries or any other thing that will arise this season. I don’t know what our record will be but if BA is anything like advertised we should be extremely competitive with the talent that’s on this roster. Palm Palms waiving Go Bucs!!

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  5. Sorry Scott, but I see the Bucs splitting the two games with the Saints. Our defensive starters, less D White, have already played against the Drew Brees-led offense at least twice, including Suh. They haven’t played our new defense, which I believe is big step up from last year’s defense. We’ll apply a lot more pressure on Brees than years past. I don’t see anybody on the Saints defense who can cover OJ Howard. I think M Evans gets the best of M. Lattimore once again, and Godwin has at least one good game against that secondary. I don’t think the Saints defensive line is anywhere near as good as Carolina’s, LA’s, or SF’s.

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  6. If you saw the Gruden comments about running backs picking up the blitz and how he pointed out Dare Ogunbowale’s missed assignment on one of Cleveland’s sacks it made me feel better about the o-line. It is one thing if the guys simply can’t win one on one and another thing if there are missed assignments that can be cleaned up.

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  7. I’m really hoping this is VHIII’s year. I’ve been a fan since his college years, and was glad the Bucs selected him in 2016. I knew my faith in him was justified for about 30 minutes of play against the Saints in week 1 last year. Pray he stays healthy and plays up to his potential, which I believe would put him as a top 10 CB in the league.

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  8. I had already stated I hoped for 8-8, as that would be a successful season for this franchise at this point and keep things stable for next year. We get a true indication if it is at all possible this weekend. If the Bucs cannot beat the 49ers at home all bets are off. Note: I don’t agree about the Titans. I think by the 8th game it will be not Mariotta but Ryan Tannenhill from the Dolphins playing at QB. Hopefully the outcome is the same.

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  9. The outcome will be the same, Tannehill is not an upgrade.
    Still disappointed that Pewter Report has spoiled the season for me by telling me the outcome of the games before I have watched them.

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  10. Having hope propels Bucs to achieve the Glazzers dream and drives the Bucs forward toward its pursuits.”HOPE”  keeps a smile on pewterboys, spitfire the chef as everything seems to go wrong, even when we see that we’re losing. Hope is always the light at the end of the tunnel, The Bucs gallon cannons ready to navigate the team through trials and difficulties of 49ers , Panthers and Giants to a great day. It’s about game 6 when we lose that hope, Bucs are like a rudderless ship being tossed about without direction. Chef and fredster blaming everything but the team while still having and finding hope with response to each Pewter article, It essential for keeping our dreams upright and continuing to sail in the direction above last place NFC south.

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    • I don’t know who wrote this, but this is not the regular usual Bob. Someone must’ve hacked his account. There’s punctuation, sentence structure, and an almost poetic flow to some of the sentences. I wouldn’t be surprised to find out this is Mark Cook trolling you guys lmao.

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      • I’ve often speculated that there really wasn’t an actual person known as my old nemesis Bucfan47 or our current resident cesspool bather, Buc Ass Bob. In realty the author of the constant negative babble with that by-line is actually an unnamed Pewter Report intern. Fess up Scott.

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    • Difference between you and I BAB is that whether this team wins or loses, I’ll be here to comment. Heaven for bid Tampa balls out this year and you disappear like the troll you are. That’s a dream I think all of us could get on board with.

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  11. These people that we pay to talk…they talk. Can’t be surprised what happens when you pull Chatty Kathy’s string. My good friend from Chicago, now that he’s done cussing his TV and throwing his remote control, will say you never know what you’re going to get until game day.

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    • Bears fans sure thought victory was assured after the first half-dozen plays. Talk about shooting your wad.

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  12. I still got us at 8-8. If we had a bigtime pass rush, I’d up it to 10-6. You never know though. IF our Bucs can come out of the gate at 3-0, we might have something here. But they gotta start fast..real fast. Here’s to a great season.

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  13. Really good hearing that Howard said they may need to chip. That is the key and you saw the TEs do a lot of chipping and blocking for the Patriots in their power blocking scheme. Auclair and Howard are both good blockers. Put them both on the outside and we can neutralize the 49er’s pass rush. Get our power blocking going and our RBs will get to the second level and our Offense will flourish. Can’t wait!

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  14. There’s so much to comment on, but I’m going to focus on just one thing:
    Carolina is hosting the Rams on opening day, so if you think they’re going to be 100% come Thursday night think again. The Bucs have a really good shot at a 2-0 start.

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  15. My first ever Bucs game was a closing 3 seconds loss to a Green Bay field goal. I used to listen to us get trampled on the Radio when I was a kid because we were never on TV for Home Games. I was born the year before we lost Doug Williams so I have known what it is like to be a fan of a basement dweller. Win or Lose I am still a Bucs Fan… Till the end. I don’t believe like the Trolls do that praying for losses in the hopes of the Glaziers selling the team is at all what being a Bucs Fan is about. I root for My Team year in and year out because they are My Team, no matter how ugly things get. Granted things get so bad sometimes that I have to turn the volume up and go sit in the other room to listen because I can’t bare to watch at certain moments. Granted my Wife has to tell the kids “Don’t get scared when Daddy is yelling at the TV during Bucs games, it’s just because he cares.”

    Yes I choose to have Hope for the Bucs, always. Not because I’m too blind to see our faults, or admit we have weaknesses and have made mistakes. I have Hope because I Love My Team. I have Hope because there is always the possibility of a Win. I have Hope because even though things can always be worse, they can also always get better. I have Hope because no matter what, I will always wear that Flag with pride and root for My Team and hope for the day I get to sit on the couch during the Super Bowl, afraid to move from the same spot out of Superstition in hopes that We can win another one.

    I am Hoping for a 10 win season, but I know that is gonna take a real turnaround for this team this year. If we don’t get that it’s not gonna shatter my Hope, because if you give up Hope on Life there’s no reason to Live. If you give up hope on yourself then you’ll never accomplish anything, and if you give up Hope on Your Team, then there’s no reason to be a Fan. I am a Firefighter and a Paramedic, so I have seen things that would make most people Hope-less, only to have the outcome be Hope-full. I have seen Death and brought back Life, because I held onto Hope. Sometimes Hope is all you have, and anyone that tries to take that away from you is just miserable and sad. So I choose Hope… and I am not ashamed at all.

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    • Wow. That was a deep post. You beared your soul. Appreciate the hard work you do as a first responder. Also, hope is a great thing! Keep your hope alive, especially for the Bucs!

      You sound like a really passionate fan. Try not to get too upset though. It’s a game being played by millionaires and managed by billionaires.

      That said, this season and team feels different. I actually think these guys can win 12. I think there are lots of reasons to be optimistic about the upcoming season. Enjoy the ride!

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      • *bared

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    • Loved your passionate post Spitfire. Sounds a lot like the past 40 plus years of my Bucs Life. Even in the most dire times, I somehow managed to have a little hope. That 1979 Worst to First season kept me thinking it could happen again.

      I started off every new season telling my wife, “This is the year.” Heck, once I was right. Many times I just wished we weren’t the worst team in the league. Bucs didn’t win much, but each of those times when the opponent probably lost more than the Bucs actually won, my spirit was energized. If nothing else, I always have hope….. even if logic tells me otherwise.

      Guys like Buc Ass Bob and others, who protect their own fragile psyche by limiting their expectations, mark down a loss in their mind before the team even takes the field. Then if the Bucs “luck out” a victory, they quickly add an asterisk noting “should have lost”.

      I sure hope (there’s that word again) Bob never gets sick. He’d never believe he had a chance to be cured and would start making his own funeral arrangements. Then, if he survived, he’d put an asterisk on the headstone marking his vacant plot, *I should have died.”

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  16. I have no clue what we’re going to do.
    Just have zero confidence to predict anything, but to say Go Bucs! Get this win!

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  17. Good Fab 5, Scott. I have us going 8-8 and with a little help from the Football Gods, 10-6. [Yes, Football Gods drink KoolAide too.] Also liked your preseason take aways – good objective assessment. One big difference this year going into the regular season is that if feels like the coaching staff gives us the chance for the upside and puts a safety net under this team for the downside. Injuries are always a wild card, but I like our chances with this staff.

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