Can the Buccaneers go 0-16?
Last year, the Lions set new marks for futility by going 0-16. This season, the Buccaneers are making at a run at matching that mark, as they have started the season 0-7. This week they come off a bye to face the Green Bay Packers at home and are heavy underdogs. Will the Bucs challenge the Lions for worst team in the 16-game era? Let’s look at the numbers to get a sense of how these two teams match up.
The 2008 Detroit Lions averaged 16.8 pts/game, 27th out of the 32 NFL teams. They averaged giving up 32.3 pts/game, worst in the NFL. Combining these two, the Lions gave up an average 15.6 points more than they scored every game in 2008. Through 7 games last season, the Lions were averaging 16.29 pts/game and giving up 30.29. The Lions, it appears, got worse as the season went along. They played only three games decided by less than a touchdown, a 2-point loss to the Vikings in Week 6, a 4-point loss to the Bears in Week 9, and a 4-point loss to the Vikings in Week 14. How do the Buccaneers match up to these marks?
Through 7 games, the Buccaneers are scoring 13.7 pts/game and giving up 29. They are losing by an average of 15.3 each game. As you can see, the Buccaneers offense is even worse than last year’s Lions, though their defense is not quite as bad so far. Their point differential is nearly identical. Their only close game was a 3-point loss to the Washington Redskins in Week 4. They are the 28th ranked scoring offense and 30th ranked scoring defense, slightly better than the Lions marks from last season. Given this wide-ranging futility, the Buccaneers are in excellent position to make a run at 0-16.
This week, the Buccaneers plan to start a rookie quarterback, Josh Freeman, their first-round pick from the last draft. Theoretically he could be the key to jump-starting their season, but it is hard to imagine how a rookie could do anything with such an anemic offense surrounding him.
Can the Buccaneers really go 0-16, achieving historical notoriety for the second time in franchise history? What do you think?