After going 7-9 in 2012, the trade for Darrelle Revis and big-name secondary acquisitions seem to have only equated to a one-game bump in the eyes Vegas as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers‘ regular-season win-total line is sitting at 8 in 2013. The addition of early second-round cornerback Johnthan Banks in the draft and highly-prized free safety Dashon Goldson via free agency will likely shore up a pass defense that ranked last in the NFL.
They also have questions about where the pass rush will come from, as defensive tackle Gerald McCoy is excellent and can supply some pressure but defensive ends Da’Quan Bowers and Adrian Clayborn need to supplement flashes of ability with quality consistency. Revis and Co. can only track receivers for so long. Strong safety Mark Barron will likely improve in coverage during his second year, and already provides a thumping element to a defense that actually ranked first against the run in 2012.
However, whether Tampa Bay can deliver on their +600 NFC South odds — the 65-to-1 Super Bowl odds are a tad crazy to consider in my opinion — will come down to whether quarterback Josh Freeman finally strings together a strong full season in his contract year. While his future remains uncertain, we can be sure he has the reins this year.
“We have our starting quarterback, and it’s Josh Freeman. And I’m not looking to find a new one. But I do like to have quality depth at every position,” Bucs Coach Greg Schiano said, via USA Today Sports. “And when you get that, just naturally, these are the most competitive guys on the planet. And it raises everybody’s level.”
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