Thursday, September 30, 2021

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 4 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2021 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Here is where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rank in terms of average, best and worst:

  • Average ranking: 2.4 (2nd)
  • Best ranking: 2nd (Multiple)
  • Worst ranking: 4th (CBS Sports)

Below you will find a Week 4 roundup for the Bucs in our consensus 2021 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 2

Even without a consistent ground game, which sets up their play-action and keeps opposing defenses from teeing off on him, Tom Brady has been absolutely terrific, throwing for 1,087 passing yards (second most in the league through three games) while his 10 touchdowns are tops in the NFL. He looks far more comfortable than he did a year ago in Bruce Arians' offense, which continues to adapt to what he does best; and the Bucs' red zone scoring has picked up significantly, although they struggled in that department in their 34-24 loss to the Rams. Brady doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon. -- Jenna Laine -- Rank: 2

Is it too early to panic about the defense? The Buccaneers have allowed 300-plus passing yards and at least two passing touchdowns to each QB they've faced this season. Matthew Stafford was the latest passer to light them up in a 34-24 loss, Tampa Bay's first defeat since last November. Through three weeks, the defense has allowed 29.3 points per game, a full seven points higher than what it allowed in 2020. The Tom Brady-led offense will provide cover on most weeks, but the Bucs won the Super Bowl last season because they put it together on both sides of the ball. Tampa Bay has lost that balance, and it's on Todd Bowles to figure out how to restore it. Brady vs. Belichick looms next Sunday night. Any storylines worth following there?

CBS Sports -- Rank: 4

They've had injuries on defense that are showing up each week. This is the return of Tom Brady to New England this week, so that's the story. Bet he can't wait.

USA Today -- Rank: 2

As if the football world obsessing over Brady's return to New England on Sunday night isn't enough, he also needs just 68 passing yards to break Drew Brees' NFL career record (80,358) in front of the "road fans."

The Athletic -- Rank: 2

Surprise! The Bucs brought back all 22 starters and most of their key backups, but that depth is already being tested, particularly in the defensive secondary. Tampa Bay enjoyed some injury luck last year on the way to its title -- getting defensive tackle Vita Vea back for a postseason run was massive, literally -- but the first three weeks of the season have been a reminder of how quickly that can change. The Bucs are already down two cornerbacks (Sean Murphy-Bunting and Jamel Dean) and a pass rusher (Jason Pierre-Paul, who is dealing with a nagging shoulder injury) and the Rams were able to exploit those weaknesses in ways future opponents like the Patriots and the Dolphins cannot.

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