A Look Back – Things didn’t go so well for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2009, but no one was really expecting much for a team in rebuilding mode. First year HC Raheem Morris wasn’t all that impressive, but at least he had his team playing hard at times. Tampa Bay flirted with a winless season for awhile, but one must remember that this was a team that beat some solid teams, including the New Orleans Saints on the road and the Green Bay Packers at home.

Key Addition – DT Gerald McCoy – The Bucs had the worst defensive line in football last year, and that really wasn’t overly debatable in NFL circles. As a result, Tampa Bay badly needed to add one of the two obvious choices at defensive tackle at the top of the NFL Draft. McCoy probably won’t be the same pro as Nebraska’s Ndamukong Suh, but he should immediately step in and help out this defense which allowed a league worst 158.2 YPG on the ground.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers NFL Cheerleader

Key Loss – WR Antonio Bryant – Bryant was Tampa Bay’s second leading receiver last year, but with just 39 catches and 600 yards, that isn’t saying a whole heck of a lot. QB Josh Freeman already knows that he doesn’t have numerous weapons to work with at wide out, and save for TE Kellen Winslow Jr., there aren’t going to be many consistent targets throughout the season. Bryant was probably the most talented receiver in an otherwise talentless bunch, and he will be missed in the Sunshine State.

2010 Will Be a Success if… – The team shows any sort of improvement from Year 1 of the Morris era to Year 2. There are plenty of games on this slate that are winnable for Tampa Bay, and the key is going to be taking advantage of those potential victories to inch closer towards being a respectable team once again. Still, expectations aren’t high at all, particularly on a defense that is going to feature at least seven starters no older than 25 years old.

The Crucial Game – The first two home games of the year are both pivotal for this franchise. Taking on Cleveland in Week 1 is a real chance to get off on the right foot, but the key game will come in Week 3 when the Pittsburgh Steelers come to town. That will probably be the only packed house that Raymond James Stadium has all year long, and though black and gold will probably be the colors of choice for the most part in the stands, the Bucs must play well, especially with the Steelers missing QB Ben Roethlisberger for that game as a part of his suspension.

Predictions – The good news for the Bucs is that more than half of their home games are really winnable this year. They shouldn’t be amongst the first 2-3 teams in the NFL Draft once again as a result, though losses to the likes of the Browns, Rams, Panthers, Lions, and Seahawks at home will absolutely cost Morris his job. Expect Tampa Bay to find a way to eke out five or so wins. These low expectations are reflected in their odds to win the Super Bowl which currently sit at +12,500.

2010 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Regular Season Schedule

9/12 vs. CLE
9/19 @ CARL
9/26 vs. PIT
Bye
10/10 @ CIN
10/17 vs. NO
10/24 vs. STL
10/31 @ ARI
11/7 @ ATL
11/14 vs. CAR
11/21 @ SF
11/28 @ BAL
12/5 vs. ATL
12/12 @ WAS
12/19 vs. DET
12/26 vs. SEA
1/2 @ NO

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