freeman

Last year: 7-9, last place in NFC South

Acquisitions: Darrelle Revis, Dashon Goldson, Peyton Hillis, Johnthan Banks, Tom Crabtree, Lawrence Tynes

Departures: Michael Bennett, LeGarrette Blount, Dallas Clark, Eric Wright, Jeremy Trueblood

Vegas win total over/under: 7 1/2 wins

Verdict: OVER

hamster

Five other hamsters that are tough:

– The crazy one in the bubble from Bolt.

– The one up Richard Gere’s anus.

– The giant breakdancing hamsters in those Kia commercials.

Lemmiwinks (technically a gerbil, but let’s not pedantic up this party)

– Yours? Do you own a hamster? You seem like you would own a tough one.

Fan forecast, by Grimey:

Every conversation I’ve had during the offseason about the Buccaneers has hit the same talking points: Hey, we got Darrelle Revis! Maybe our secondary won’t be ass this year!… Well, we did lose Michael Bennett, who was our most effective pass rusher… With the weapons at running back and wide receiver, and now that key parts of the offensive line are healthy again, I guess whether or not the Bucs make the playoffs is up to Josh Freeman! Yay?

The 2012 Bucs ended up with one of the league’s best rushing attacks with rookie Doug Martin, along with one of the league’s best rushing defenses led by first-time Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy. In Tom Jackson’s ’90s NFL wet dream, that would have made them a Super Bowl contender, but not in the current NFL, where Eli Manning throwing the ball 51 times is somehow not the worst thing.

So the success of the Bucs defense in 2013 will rely on a few factors: the health of Darrelle Revis’s knee, rookie Johnthan Banks surviving his trial by fire as a starting corner (since Eric Wright loved Adderall and DUIs), and the crucial emergence of a solid pass rush by one (or both!) of the Bucs’ previously high-drafted defensive ends, Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers.

And yes, on offense, the huge question mark is Josh Freeman. It’s not really an insult to say that he’s the worst quarterback in the NFC South, but in both of the last two seasons, an extended Buccaneers losing streak has coincided with Freeman’s worst games as a pro. How Freeman performs this year will ultimately determine whether or not the Bucs re-sign him to a long-term contract, and personally, I’m rooting for him. (if only for the fact that the next option, Mike Glennon, had his best game in college because Florida State decided to stop playing at halftime.)

Freeman may be in trouble though, because the first half of the Bucs season looks pretty daunting, with road games against the Patriots, Falcons and Seahawks. The Bucs could easily be 2-6 headed into their Monday night game against the Dolphins, and if it looks like the Bucs will miss the playoffs around that game, it wouldn’t surprise me if more stories like this criticism of Freeman from Boomer Esiason from last year begin to resurface.

Will Darrelle Revis be enough to prevent blackouts of the Bucs home games this year? I’m not so sure. I’m not sure how the economy in Tampa is rebounding, but I’m almost certain that half the 24 jerseys at the home games will still say “C. Williams” on the back.

As for me, I live six hours away, so I don’t get to go to that many games. I’m pretty certain I haven’t seen the Buccaneers win in person since an overtime win against the Falcons, when Jim Mora Jr. used a cell phone to find out if Atlanta could still make the playoffs if they tied. The most recent atrocity I got to see live was last year’s game against Philadelphia, where the Eagles’ last-second game-winning TD wasn’t quite as painful as the saddest offensive touchdown of 2012, when the Bucs gave up a rushing touchdown to Nick Foles. NICK FOLES.

Right when he took off from the 24-yard line, I knew he was going to score, and it still took him two goddamn minutes to get to the end zone. Go Bucs!