The Bucs are awfully close to the top ten before a single game has been played.

It’s a Tuesday, during the regular season, which means outlets are putting out their power rankings. The first ones of the season, in fact, though hardly the first ones of the year.

We start off with SB Nation’s Adam Stites, who has the Tampa Bay Buccaneers ranked ninth. A top ten ranking before the games have even started. Nice!

Others, of course, also put out power rankings. Like ESPN, which ranked the Bucs 13th and had Jenna Laine do the explaining.

The Buccaneers, who have not made the playoffs since 2007, enter the season as actual postseason contenders. Third-year quarterback Jameis Winston is coming off back-to-back 4,000-yard seasons and has more weapons than ever. But running back Doug Martin’s three-game suspension to open the season is a concern, as is an unstable kicking situation. On defense, the Bucs look to carry the momentum from the final eight games of the 2016 season when they allowed an impressive 32 percent third-down conversion rate and registered 18 takeaways, the most in the league

Thirteenth sounds about right, as the Bucs do have a few things to prove. Adding T.J. Ward may be enough to boost them into the top ten consistently, but not in the eyes of most media analysts.

The Washington Post’s Mark Maske, for instance, has the Bucs ranked 15th. NFL.com’s Elliott Harrison thinks number 13 is about right for the Bucs, Yahoo! Sports’ Frank Schwad goes with a 14th overall ranking, and only NJ.com’s Joe Gigio ranks them in the top ten—at number ten, to be precise.


Article first appeared on www.bucsnation.com