Buccaneers' 2020 win total set at 9

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March 24th, 2020

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who bumbled their way to a 7-9 record in 2019 and haven’t made the postseason since 2007, have suddenly transformed themselves into a potential Super Bowl contender, thanks to the addition of six-time championship game winner Tom Brady at quarterback.

Brady, who played 18 seasons (minimum 12 games started) in New England without posting a losing record, will be 43 when the season begins, assuming there are no coronavirus-related delays.

Oddsmakers have set the Buccaneers’ season win total at nine. Let's discuss which side looks like the winning one.

Tampa Bay broke the bank for Brady

Brady signed with Tampa on a guaranteed, two-year, $50 million contract, plus a potential $9 million in incentives. The Patriots were apparently unwilling to go that high in their negotiations with TB12, and based off last season’s statistics, they had a case for balking at that price tag.

Brady's age and declining stats are a concern

In 2019, Brady posted his lowest completion percentage (60.8%) and passer rating (88) since 2013. He also saw multi-year lows in passing yards per game, touchdown rate, and yards per attempt. Brady’s performance against the Titans in the Wild Card round this year was brutal. He went 20-for-37 for just 209 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception.

Many will suggest Brady can have a statistical renaissance in 2020, with elite wideouts Mike Evans and Chris Godwin at his disposal, but it’s unwise to ignore Brady’s advanced age when making predictions for the Bucs this year.

The Bucs have a lot of work to do on defense

Unlike last season, Brady will not have a stalwart defense to bail him out if he struggles. Tampa’s stoppers were a paltry 29th in points allowed per game (28.1) last season. The Bucs re-signed veteran lineman Jason Pierre-Paul, but fellow lineman Ndamukong Suh is free to sign with any club, and linebacker Carl Nassib has already flown the coop to the Raiders.

Brady may also struggle to stay upright, as Tampa’s offensive line allowed the sixth-most QB hits of any team last year. All the team has done to address that issue is replace Demar Dotson (a free agent) with Joe Haeg at tackle.

The Bucs had many issues last year, aside from Jameis Winston’s interceptions, and a 43-year-old Brady is not a panacea. Bettors should lean toward the Under, barring another big splash by Tampa Bay in free agency. 

NFL free pick: Under nine wins

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