Why we’re going all the way The Tampa Bay Buccaneers haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2007 season, but that’s not going to stop them. They came close last year, and with DeSean Jackson and O.J. Howard in the building, they’ve got enough talent to push them over the top. Jameis Winston should take the next step to becoming a top-10 quarterback, and Mike Smith has the tools to build an excellent defense -- as we saw at the end of last season.
The season is hopeless if [THIS] happens If Winston gets injured, the Bucs are obviously screwed. That’s a boring answer, though, and there’s another scenario: any defensive starter misses significant time, or otherwise collapses. The Bucs’ defense is held together by a lot of "ifs," and there’s not a lot of depth at most positions -- if Brent Grimes finally hits the age wall, if Vernon Hargreaves can’t improve, if Noah Spence isn’t the sack artist they hope he is, if the safeties continue to be terrible, the defense could be overwhelmed really easily.
Who is your biggest rival and why? The Atlanta Falcons, because they’re the best team not named the Bucs in the NFC South -- and because the Bucs stole half their coaching staff and part of their roster from Atlanta. They’re the team to beat in the division right now, and that makes them the Bucs’ biggest rival.
Tailgate food that best describes your team? Chili: delicious, layered, and full of potential if done right, but a potential disaster in the making, too.
What does your team do better than anyone else? Manage the salary cap. The Bucs haven’t been limited by cap issues since the early 2000s, and that hasn’t been for a lack of spending. The team does not hand out big signing bonuses, instead simply paying players more in salary per season rather than upfront -- and that makes managing all of those contracts and cutting disappointing players a lot easier.