Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Tampa Bay Buccaneers Week 5 NFL Power Rankings Roundup

Throughout the 2023 NFL season, we will compile a consensus NFL Power Rankings that averages the rankings of all 32 NFL teams.

Below you will find a Week 5 roundup for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in our consensus 2023 NFL Power Rankings.

ESPN -- Rank: 9

Biggest issue on defense: Explosive pass plays

The Bucs' defense is giving up 17 points a game -- seventh best in the league. But it has given up 16 pass plays of 20 or more yards -- fourth worst in the NFL. This is largely a function of Tampa Bay's high-risk, high-reward scheme. If a player vacates his spot in coverage to blitz and doesn't affect the quarterback, it creates a hole in the defense. On nine of those plays, the Bucs were blitzing. However, they're giving up a touchdown only 27.3% of the time in the red zone -- the second-best rate in the NFL -- which allows them to take these gambles. -- Jenna Laine -- Rank: 10

The Bucs were more aggressive offensively in their win over the Saints, with Baker Mayfield providing some good (first-down passes downfield, scrambling for first downs) and some bad (a goal-line pick). The run game remains a work in progress, but the overall results were positive, given Tampa was without the injured Mike Evans for much of the day. Defensively, the Bucs swarmed Alvin Kamara (24 touches, 84 yards), got to Derek Carr enough and caused two turnovers. A big forced fumble from Antoine Winfield Jr. set up Trey Palmer's touchdown, bailing out Mayfield just before halftime. Great team ball. Winfield also batted away a would-be TD to Chris Olave. The Bucs' 11 penalties were rough -- those were part of the reason they didn't put the Saints away sooner.

CBS Sports -- Rank: 10

At 3-1, they lead the NFC South after beating the Saints on the road. The defense came up big and Baker Mayfield is playing well.

USA Today -- Rank: 16

They've got sole possession of first place in the NFC South, but hard to see Tampa Bay staying there if its league-worst 3 yards per rush doesn't come up.

The Athletic -- Rank: 10

Baker Mayfield, the former No. 1 pick who is on his fourth team in 15 months, has Tampa Bay looking like the clear-cut favorite in the NFC South. About the only thing anybody was sure of regarding the South entering the season was that the Bucs would be in last place. Instead, Mayfield is seventh in the league in offensive EPA per dropback, according to TruMedia.

FOX -- Rank: 11

This blueprint can win a lot of games for Tampa — maybe even enough to win a weak division. The Buccaneers defense is just as swarming and physical as we thought it might be, and Baker Mayfield isn't just playing "well enough," he's been downright good — especially on third downs. It might not be good enough against the league's elite, as we saw against the Eagles, but they dominated their division rivals in New Orleans.

Yahoo! -- Rank: 11

It's hard to proclaim the Buccaneers as the best team in the NFC South. But they are 3-1, and their only loss came to Philadelphia. They're 2-0 on the road and that includes a huge victory over the Saints in their pocket. The question might not be if the Buccaneers are a good team, but who in the NFC South is better? If nothing else, it's a great start for Baker Mayfield and the rest of the team.

PFT -- Rank: 10

This could end up being a team none of the big boys want to play in January.

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