It's true that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were just 7-5 entering the home stretch last season before going on their Super Bowl run and that they remain in even better shape at 6-3 right now. But don't let that fool you into believing that the defending champions are on easy street.
Lightning rarely strikes twice in the NFL, and a shocking 29-19 loss Sunday to the lowly Washington Football Team is an indication Tom Brady and the Bucs are in big trouble as they embark on the post-bye portion of their 2021 campaign.
It was Tampa Bay's second consecutive multi-score loss and Brady's second consecutive multi-interception performance. It also came despite the fact that Brady and Co. had two weeks to prepare for Washington, which is jarring because the Bucs were 6-0 with an average scoring margin of 36-16 in their last six affairs in which they had more than a week to prepare.
Even the best teams have duds here and there, but this wasn't a complete aberration. Before their Week 9 bye, the Buccaneers fell to a depleted New Orleans Saints team that was without its starting quarterback, its best receiver and several key defensive players. And let's not forget that they merely survived in close victories over the Dallas Cowboys and New England Patriots or that they bombed in a double-digit-margin loss to the Los Angeles Rams.