While the summer season brings much enjoyment to the average person, for an NFL fan, it represents a desolate wasteland where Sundays just aren't quite as vibrant as in the autumn months. However, with each passing day, we inch closer to the beginning of the 2023 NFL season, which officially kicks off on September 8 this year.
Whether you've had your favorite team's tweet notifications turned on all summer or if you've decided to tune out all football news entirely, you'll be able to learn everything you need to know about your team going into the 2022-23 season right here.
In today's article, I'll be discussing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
I'm working on season guidebooks for all 32 NFL teams, which will all be released within the next few weeks. To check out another team's guidebook, click here:
2021 Season Recap
Tampa Bay was exceptional for most of 2021, looking poised to defend their Super Bowl title in Tom Brady's second season with the team. They ended the regular season at 13-4 and soundly defeated the Eagles 31-15 in the wild card round. However, they had to face the eventual Super Bowl champions, the Rams, in the divisional round and suffered a 3-point loss on a field goal as time expired.
The Bucs had the best passing offense in the league from a yardage standpoint and were elite defensively against the run as well. They scored the second most points per game among all teams in the league and allowed the 5th fewest points per contest. They don't have a ton of room for improvement this season, but will attempt to maximize their offensive and defensive efficiency in 2022.
Significant Roster Moves
Tampa Bay lost a lot of big names in the offseason, headlined by the retirement of Rob Gronkowski. O.J. Howard and Ronald Jones signed elsewhere, leaving some vacancies on the offensive side of the ball. The defense will be without Ndamukong Such and Jason Pierre-Paul on the D-line and Richard Sherman and Jordan Whitehead in the secondary in 2022.
The Buccaneers brought in Russell Gage, Julio Jones, and Kyle Rudolph to provide Tom Brady with extra weapons to throw to, as well as Shaq Mason to replace the retirement of Ali Marpet. Akiem Hicks will serve as a run stopper at defensive end, and Logan Ryan will take Whitehead's spot at free safety.
2022 Draft Class
The Buccaneers had eight selections in this year's draft and focused on adding depth to the offense and defensive line. Outside of Jake Camarda, who will be the team's starting punter in 2022, none of the remaining draft picks will be immediate starters by the time the regular season rolls around. However, a few of the more highly drafted players will get playing time with the second string early in the season.
The Buccaneers will take on the NFC West and the AFC North to go along with their six divisional games. Their other three opponents are the Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers, and Kansas City Chiefs. With an opponent prior season win percentage of .535, Tampa Bay has the 4th hardest schedule in the NFL.
Tampa Bay's primetime games include a Thursday night game versus Baltimore, three Sunday night games at Dallas, versus Kansas City, and at Arizona, and one Monday night game versus New Orleans. They will also play in London against Seattle in Week 10.
The Buccaneers return 17 of their 22 offensive and defensive starters from a season ago, which is about average for all teams in the league. Bucs fans will recognize most of their core players returning in 2022, and the team should pick up without missing much of a beat as they kick off the new season.
Todd Bowles was hired in the offseason to replace Bruce Arians and become the 13th head coach in Buccaneers franchise history. All coordinators have been with Tampa Bay for several years, though Kacy Rodgers and Larry Foote will take on more responsibility this season as Bowles shifts from defensive coordinator into his new role.
Oddsmakers have set the regular season win total for Tampa Bay at 11.5 games. As of right now, the Buccaneers are the favorites to win the NFC South and the NFC as a whole. At +700 to win the 2023 Super Bowl, they are second in the league behind only Buffalo.
Bucket Squad Predictions
It's pretty much a guarantee that the Bucs will be one of the elite teams in the league again in 2022, and they'll be disappointed with anything less than a Super Bowl victory. Tom Brady has proven he can still play at a very high level, and he continues to have the best team around him that he's ever had in his career.
I'm predicting Tampa Bay to go 13-4 and win the NFC South with relative ease this season, but I still like the Rams to finish ahead of them in the NFC and secure the opening round bye in the playoffs. I certainly won't count out Brady and the Bucs from winning it all in 2022, but my official postseason predictions will come later.
What do you think? Will Tampa Bay be better or worse than I'm projecting? What offseason moves made by the Buccaneers surprised you the most? Leave a comment down below and be sure to check the "NFL" section of the website for more NFL team guidebooks as I finish them.
Written by Nick Swatson
Expert Nick Swatson discusses all the news, predictions, and outcomes surrounding the NFL.