On the eve of training camps getting underway, there are always plenty of predictions on teams and their records for the upcoming season. We found the one released Monday from USA Today to be quite interesting.
The three Florida teams: Tampa Bay, Miami, and Jacksonville all find themselves in three different scenarios.
Starting at the top, the projections have the Bucs leading the pack of Florida team’s. Finishing at 10-6 with a 2nd place in the NFC South, they also find themselves in a wildcard slot along with the New York Giants, who they take on in week four. The Bucs will look to make the playoffs for the first time in a decade. After putting together a diverse offense and the potential for a stout defense, the sky can be the limit for the young Bucs.
Following the Bucs in what could be said as one of the shocks, are the Jags. The projections have Jacksonville finishing 8-8 tied with the Houston Texans for 2nd place in the AFC South. For this to happen you would have to assume Blake Bortles has a bounce back season for the offense. We also previously wrote that the defense looks to be dominant for years to come. As long as the offense can put up points and control clock, the Jags will soon be competing for the AFC South crown.
Surprisingly last, but certainly not least, are the Miami Dolphins. The lone playoff team from the State last season will not be returning to postseason play according to these projections, but that’s not all. The Phins also will be the lone team in the state to have a losing record finishing 7-9 and second in the AFC East. Part of that projection is due to 2 predicted losses to the undefeated Patriots. Even though, it seems like the Dolphins improved this off-season it just wasn’t enough to the people at USA Today.
Projections are projections, and are meant to try to pick the season’s outcome and create a talking point. USA Today has done that in with the three Florida based teams by giving us plenty to debate. Are the Bucs ready to make the leap? Can the Jags show major improvements? Can the Dolphins replicate last season’s success?
All of our questions will soon be answered, as the season prepares to start.