The biggest addition to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this off-season came in the form of the No. 1 selection in this year’s NFL Draft. The Buccaneers used it to take Florida State QB and 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. For all of his negatives, Winston did go 26-1 as a starter and win a national championship. Tampa Bay is banking on Winston to lead them back to prosperity. That being said, Super Bowl predictions in Vegas don't expect this will be the year the Buccaneers turn the corner with NFL odds listing Tampa Bay as +10000 longshots to win the championship, +5000 to win the NFC Conference and +650 to win the NFC South. Winston was not the only addition to the Tampa Bay offense. Long-time offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter was hired to help Winston and the Buccaneers generate points.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were 30th in the NFL in total offense last season and 29th in scoring. The weapons are in place. Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans are a pair of 6-foot-5 wide receivers that each had over 1,000 yards receiving in 2014. They also have a quality RB in Doug Martin, who has cooled off since rushing for 1,454 yards as a rookie. It will be Koetter’s job to see to it these weapons are used to defy Super Bowl predictions as heavy longshots. Where Tampa Bay really needs some help is on defense. Head coach Lovie Smith favors the Tampa 2 defense made famous by former Bucs head coach Tony Dungy. What Smith and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier need is a serious pass rush threat. Defensive tackle Gerald McCoy led the team with 8.5 sacks and Tampa Bay worked in the off-season to upgrade the defense adding DE George Johnson, DT Henry Melton, LB Bruce Carter, and S Chris Conte. The Bucs only defensive draft pick, LB Kwon Alexander, will have an opportunity to start at strongside outside linebacker.
After an absolute disaster of a season in 2014, Tampa Bay got rid of much of their veteran roster including QB Josh McCown. Smith and company look to start fresh in 2015 NFL odds and will get a chance to start on the right foot with a Week 1 meeting against the Tennessee Titans, which also went 2-14 last year. The Buccaneers face a mid-season stretch where they face Dallas, Philadelphia, and Indianapolis in consecutive games. Other than a Week 3 date with the Houston Texans, they are the only games that Tampa Bay plays against teams that had a winning record in 2014. Although most handicappers are doubting the Bucs could win the 2015 NFC South, it is the league's weakest division. If Winston can get the offense scoring points early in the season, a division title could be attainable.
Buccaneers Update (9/11/15): Tampa Bay are now +10000 favorites in Super Bowl predictions, +5000 to win the NFC Conference and +600 to win the NFC South.