The 2012 Buccaneers matched the win total of the 2011 Tampa Bay squad in the first week of November and could go so far as to double it by season’s end, despite a recent downturn. That’s a step in the right direction, and at least one experienced NFL analyst believes it will be followed by another big step in 2013.
Noting the sudden playoff runs in 2012 of such sub-.500 2011 teams as Indianapolis and Seattle, NFL.com’s Gil Brandt has identified six teams he believes are “poised to engineer a similar turnaround in 2013.” Brandt then ranks those half-dozen teams in the order of the likelihood of that turnaround, and puts the Buccaneers at the top of the list.
Brandt, now a senior analyst at NFL.com who has been providing insight on teams and personnel since the site’s launch in 1995, was the Dallas Cowboys’ vice president of player personnel for nearly three decades (1960-88). He helped produce several dynastic teams in Dallas and was involved in the team’s dramatic turnaround in the early ’90s.
Brandt sees several signs in Tampa that suggest a team on the rise, from strong drafts to astute free agency signings to Head Coach Greg Schiano’s promising debut season at the helm. Brandt also believes the Buccaneers have the cap space and the desire to keep or attract additional free agents in the coming offseason.
Other teams that might be able to turn it around in 2013, in Brandt’s estimation, include Miami, Cleveland, St. Louis, Carolina and Philly. He is less optimistic for the likes of Oakland, Kansas City, Jacksonville and Tennessee. Click here to read his full analysis.