Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-8)
Schedule so far
Week 1 - at Jets - lost, 18-17
Week 2 - vs. Saints - lost, 16-14
Week 3 - at Patriots - lost, 23-3
Week 4 - vs. Cardinals - lost, 13-10
Week 6 - vs. Eagles - lost, 31-20
Week 7 - at Falcons - lost, 31-23
Week 8 - vs. Panthers - lost, 31-13
Week 9 - at Seahawks - lost, 27-24 (OT)
Week 10 - vs. Dolphins - won, 22-19
Week 11 - vs. Falcons - won, 41-28
Reason for optimism
Although they've been much better as of late, the Bucs are still a 2-8 team led by Mike Glennon at quarterback. Before ending their losing streak on Monday night last week, the Bucs were 0-8, and they were among the very worst teams in all of the NFL. The off-field drama has subsided in recent weeks, but this is still a team that, on paper, the Lions should beat.
Reason for pessimism
The Bucs are actually on a two-game winning streak, and they've been playing much better football all month. They went to overtime against the Seahawks on the road, and even early in the season, they played some close games against good teams. Glennon seems to be doing a good job of managing the game at quarterback, and with Doug Martin and Mike James done for the year, Bobby Rainey has stepped in as the latest impressive running back. Also, the Bucs defense has been playing quite well, and generally speaking this seems to be a team on the rise.
Storyline to watch
Just a couple weeks ago, I figured the main storyline would involve the firing of Greg Schiano. Now, though, given how the Bucs have played lately, the main storyline might actually be if Schiano can do enough to save his job down the stretch. I doubt winning only a couple games will be enough, but if they manage to upset the Lions and continue this hot streak against a tough remaining schedule, Schiano might actually be able to stick around going into 2014.
For more on the Buccaneers, check out Bucs Nation.