Buccaneers season outlook is very pleasing
By: Jake Rajala
It’s an incredibly rare feat for an NFL squad to go undefeated in a regular season, yet it’s possible. There have only been four NFL teams to go undefeated in an NFL regular season: Miami Dolphins, Chicago Bears twice, and the New England Patriots.
The NFL squads that claimed an undefeated record in previous league history, pulled off such a miracle with 14 or 16 games. As of 2021, it’s widely enunciated that the slate of games will no longer be 16 matchups, but 17 games. It will be a slightly more difficult miracle to reach the undefeated mark looking ahead.
Will the NFL audience witness a season of perfection this upcoming season or in near future years in which a team pulls off 17 victories and zero losses? It’s hard to predict if and when a juggernaut group will make the magic happen. Although, a team needs to hold the highest chance of going undefeated this season and every year after.
Heading into the 2021 season, I believe the clear favorite to be the first team to go marching 17-0 is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Here is why the Bucs are the clear favorite to have a miracle chance of unveiling a season of perfection next year.
- Schedule is very favorable
The defending Super Bowl champions don’t just have a below average strength of schedule, but they hold the 29th easiest schedule in the league. The Bucs play one NFC West squad (SF 49ers), zero AFC west teams, and zero AFC North clubs.
The Bucs divisional competition has also regressed this offseason. The reigning NFC South champs (NO Saints) lost its HOF QB Drew Brees and star pass rusher Trey Hendrickson this offseason. The Atlanta Falcons, who almost upset the Bucs, lost their best player and all time franchise great wideout Julio Jones. The news of the Saints demise is very appealing for Bucs fans in particular, due to the fact that the Saints swept the Bucs in 2020.
- Returning skill players
It’s well known that the Bucs have elite pieces on offense, but it’s important to have quality depth for the long haul of a season. The Bucs didn’t only retain Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski, but they brought back playoff hero Leonard Fournette and Super Bowl impact player Antonio Brown. Late in December and January, depth on offense and defense truly pays off.
When opposing defenses focus on taking away Mike Evans and Godwin, AB will have outstanding matches week in and week out. Fournette is also a fantastic complement to Ronald Jones’s all purpose ability, plus he has a year of the system down — as does AB.
- Brady has been 16-0 before
In 2007 Brady led the Pats to one of the few seasons of undefeated glory. Brady and Randy Moss dazzled defenses, as he threw for once record 50 passing touchdowns.
The 2007 Brady setup compares strongly to his situation in 2021. TB12 was second in the league in passing touchdowns last season (Aaron Rodgers was first), but he should have a strong chance to claim the number one spot and potentially break the passing TD record again next season. Outside of Aaron Rodgers’s situation being up in the air, Brady will have a full season in sync with AB, Gronk, and Fournette.
If a team goes 17-0 it would be a miracle, but it may be less of a surprise if it comes at the hands of a QB that’s already accomplished it before.