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Football Outsiders' 2017 NFL projections: No playoffs for the Buccaneers

Bucs safety Chris Conte celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown against the Bears in November. Tampa Bay recorded 29 takeaways last season, its most since 2013. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]

Bucs safety Chris Conte celebrates after returning an interception for a touchdown against the Bears in November. Tampa Bay recorded 29 takeaways last season, its most since 2013. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times]

The Buccaneers as a playoff team?

Don't bet on it.

The empirical thinkers at Football Outsiders have joined Las Vegas oddsmakers in casting Tampa Bay as an underdog this coming season.

The football analytics website released its post-draft projections this week, and it has the Bucs going 7-9 and finishing last in the NFC South. Tampa Bay, which won nine games last season, is ranked 13th in the NFC, ahead of only the Bears, Vikings and 49ers.

RELATED STORY: Jones: Tapping the brakes on the Bucs bandwagon

There is reason to believe, however, that the projections are underestimating the 2017 squad, editor-in-chief Aaron Schatz writes.

"Tampa Bay has a lot of young, developing offensive talent, plus the addition of DeSean Jackson, so I think there's a better chance of the Buccaneers taking a step forward than an average projection of 7-9 indicates," he says.

The projection model takes into account FO's proprietary team efficiency ratings, regression trends, personnel and coaching changes, and turnover ratios.

In fact, turnover ratio is one of the reasons FO is bearish on the Bucs. They were second in defensive turnovers per drive last season, with more than 15 percent of opponent possessions ending in a takeaway, Schatz says. (The Chiefs were first; about 17 percent of opponent possessions ended in a takeaway.) Defensive turnovers tend to be inconsistent from season to season.

In 2016, FO projected 7.2 wins for Tampa Bay. In 2015, it projected 6.4 wins.

To read the full story and see the projections for every team, visit espn.com (Insider subscription required).

Contact Thomas Bassinger at tbassinger@tampabay.com. Follow @tometrics.

Football Outsiders' 2017 NFL projections: No playoffs for the Buccaneers 05/18/17 [Last modified: Thursday, May 18, 2017 4:00am]
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