Now that three weeks have passed, Jameis Winston has returned. The Buccaneers got off to a surprising 2-1 start with Ryan Fitzpatrick starting at QB. Should Tampa Bay continue to play Fitzpatrick, or put Winston back into the starting lineup?
There was no way the Buccaneers should have put Fitzpatrick on the bench with the way he played in the first two games (48/61, 819 yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT). However, things were completely different early against the Pittsburgh Steelers as he threw three interceptions while they were down big. Despite losing the game, the Buccaneers showed fight in the 2nd half and only ended up losing by three points, reassuring that Fitzpatrick should remain the team’s starter.
Can this Tampa Bay offense remain explosive? Whoever is this team’s QB will have very good weapons at their disposal. We know how good WR Mike Evans is, and Desean Jackson is an excellent deep threat, but the player I want to focus on is OJ Howard. After a disappointing rookie campaign, the former first-rounder is off to an excellent start this season. Through three games, Howard has 222 receiving yards and a touchdown. It is also worth noting that running back Ronald Jones, the Buccaneers recent second-round pick, has yet to appear in a game.
So how much noise can the Buccaneers make in the NFC South? After being a key reason why they won the division last season, the Saints’ defense has been horrendous this season, ranking 30th in yards allowed while allowing 34 points per game, the worst mark in the league. New Orleans isn’t the only NFC South team with defensive concerns though; the Falcons are really banged up on that side of the ball. Two years ago, the Falcons surprisingly won the division. Three years ago, the Panthers got the NFC South crown after winning seven games the previous season. Could we see another surprise division winner this season with the Buccaneers?