The Bucs will host Super Bowl LV, but can they actually win it?
Tom Brady led Tampa Bay to the franchise’s first NFL postseason berth since 2007, when it lost to a New York Giants team that wound up making history. While the playoff inexperience of the Buccaneers seemingly would make them longshot to win a title, the presence of Brady, a six-time Super Bowl winner, makes it far easier to envision Tampa playing at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 7.
But are the Bucs good enough to emerge from a competitive NFC bracket? Are they capable of knocking off the best the AFC has to offer?
Bruce Arians’ team will begin their postseason run Saturday night in Washington with a Wild Card Round showdown against the Football Team. Here are reasons for and against the Bucs winning Super Bowl LV:
Can Win Super Bowl
Well, this one is easy. The Buccaneers are easier to build a Super Bowl case for than any team not named the Kansas City Chiefs.
The conversation starts and ends with Brady. The 43-year-old isn’t quite as incredible as he once was and endured some struggles this season, but he nevertheless racked up 43 touchdown passes and, more often than not, looked like Tom Brady. He is the greatest player, and winner, in NFL history, and that means a lot.
The Bucs also boast perhaps the most talented offense in football, with or without Mike Evans, who suffered a knee injury in Week 17. Chris Godwin is a stud, Rob Gronkowski clearly has something left in the tank and Antonio Brown came on strong late in the season. The running back tandem of Ronald Jones and Leonard Fournette also is excellent.
On the defensive side of the ball, we believe Bucs are worse than their numbers indicate. However, there is plenty of talent on this group and the rushing defense is legit.
Will all that talent be enough to overcome Tampa’s shortcomings? We’ll get answers in short order.
Can’t Win Super Bowl
Two words: “discipline” and “coaching.”
The Bucs significantly cut down their penalties in the second half of the season, but they still are a team capable of losing games due to mental errors. Tampa needs to play a clean game if it wants to beat teams such as the Chiefs, Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints.
As for coaching, we never have been high on Arians. His too-cool-for-school act isn’t fooling anyone, including his own players. We’re not as concerned with his public criticism of Brady as we are his stubbornness, which could be a difference-maker in a close playoff game.
Ultimately, the Bucs are a championship-caliber that too often play losing football.