The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a strange team.
Wrap your head around this: Last season, the Bucs had the worst passing defense and the best rushing defense in the league. Their quarterback threw for more than 4,000 yards and they had a receiver and rusher with more than 1,000 yards each -- yet they ended the season with no playoff appearance and a 7-9 record.
Granted, it's nothing new for a team to have a good offense and a bad defense. It's just strange to think of a team with a defense that easy to predict -- if you ran against the Bucs, you wouldn't do well. If you passed, you would do great. That's probably why the Buccaneers beat the Vikings (who had Adrian Peterson account for 38 percent of their total yardage and 80 percent of their rushing yardage) 36-17, but lost to the Saints (who earned 77 percent of their yardage through the air) 41-0 on the road and 35-28 at home.
Sorry for the number-heavy detour, I just thought those stats were mind-boggling. The point of that whole spiel was this: all the Buccaneers need to do to be a good (or even great) football team is improve their pass defense.
Should their offseason additions pay off, that's exactly that they've done. Aside from picking up former 49er Dashon Goldson (who led the Niners in interceptions with three last season) and Darrelle Revis (a four-time pro bowler), they also used their first pick in the draft on CB Johnthan Banks, who won the Jim Thorpe award for best defensive back in college football.
Now, the Buccaneers are in no slouch of a division. The NFC South, for those who need reminding, contains the Falcons, Panthers, Bucs and Saints. So while we might not see Tampa Bay make the playoffs next year, they could certainly pose a threat to the 49ers.
For more analysis on the Bucs, here's a preview piece by AnthonyLy.
And, as always, here are the stats from their last season:
Passing allowed: 297.4 yds/game, 7.6 yds/att
Rushing allowed: 82.5 yds/game, 3.5 yds/att
Points allowed: 24.6