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2013 Tampa Bay Bucs
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have not made a playoff appearance since 2007, but the future is looking bright for them now that Greg Schiano is patrolling the sidelines. In his first season as an NFL head coach, Schiano's Bucs got off to a pretty solid 6-4 start, rewarding their backers by going an impressive 8-2 against the spread. However, Tampa Bay quickly faltered and lost all momentum, dropping five of six games down the stretch (2-3-1 ATS) to finish 7-9 overall.
In his fourth NFL season, Bucs quarterback Josh Freeman rebounded from a poor season with a career year, throwing for 4,065 yards and 27 touchdowns. Tampa wide receiver Vincent Jackson lived up to the monster contract he signed with the team last offseason as well, hauling in 72 receptions for 1,384 yards and scoring eight TDs. Fellow WR Mike Williams also was a big contributor, recording 63 catches for 996 receiving yards and nine TDs. Former Boise State running back Doug Martin enjoyed a fine rookie campaign on the ground, rushing for 1,454 yards and recording 1,926 yards of total offense with 12 TDs. But the weak link for the Bucs last season was their pass defense, allowing 297.4 yards per game to finish 32nd in the NFL and offset their top-ranked run defense, which surrendered just 82.5 rushing yards per contest.
Tampa Bay addressed the biggest team need this offseason by improving the secondary, inking Pro Bowl cornerback Darrelle Revis to a massive six-year deal worth $96 million after acquiring him from the New York Jets as well as signing safety Dashon Goldson to a five-year contract worth more than $41 million. The Buccaneers also hope second-round pick Johnthan Banks will be able to step in immediately at cornerback. The team also picked up WR Kevin Ogletree, giving Freeman another solid weapon on offense. Tampa Bay's two biggest losses were defensive end Michael Bennett, a free agent who signed with the Seattle Seahawks, and legendary S Ronde Barber, who finally decided to hang up his cleats and retire. The Bucs also decided to part ways with offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood and WR Arrelious Benn, a former first-round draft pick who never panned out. Another rookie who could contribution right away in addition to Banks is fourth-round pick William Gholston, a defensive end out of Michigan State who the Bucs hope will be able to fill the shoes of the departed Bennett.
The oddsmakers at 5Dimes have Tampa Bay at O/U 7.5 wins for the upcoming season. This team made very solid moves in the offseason to improve and could very well be a playoff team this year. Freeman is actually younger than San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick and should only continue to develop as one of the league's best young QBs in 2013.
Recommended Play: OVER 7.5
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