Tampa Bay is way too low Chris Godwin Jersey , even if it is ‘way-too-early’"WhiteFanposts Fanshots Sections 2016 NFL DraftInjuriesFree AgencyGame FilmBucs Disrespected in ESPN’s ‘Way-Too-Early’ Power RankingsNew,39commentsTampa Bay is way too low, even if it is ‘way-too-early’ESTShareTweetShareShareBucs Disrespected in ESPN’s ‘Way-Too-Early’ Power RankingsKim Klement-USA TODAY SportsThe Tampa Bay Buccaneers finished the 2018 season as the league’s 28th ranked team, or fifth-worst. However, an off-season already filled with a lot of significant changes, and more to come, have this team on the verge of becoming everyone’s pre-season sleeper.Everyone, that is, except for ESPN apparently.In releasing their self-proclaimed ‘way-too-early’ power rankings of NFL teams ahead of the 2019 league year, the network showed their hand and told every franchise exactly what they think of them.For the Bucs, this means being labeled as 24th out of a possible 32 franchises. But, wait a minute, isn’t that higher than they finished in 2018? Yes. Yes it is. And it’s still too low.Here’s why. It’s well documented that the Buccaneers had the most potent passing attack in the NFL between the goal lines. Getting the ball across the goal line was another matter. Bringing in new head coach and quarterback whisperer Bruce Arians will help fix that issue. This fact alone should bump the team up about five spots in the power rankings.Add to it the addition of Todd Bowles as defensive coordinator and the promise of a coaching staff who is more interested in making things work for their players rather than making their players work for them, and this is a team who should be Top-20.It might just be me, but the teams currently ranked behind the Buccaneers are...25. Washington Redskins26. Jacksonville Jaguars27. Detroit Lions28. Cincinnati Bengals29. Buffalo Bills30. New York Jets31. Oakland Raiders32. Arizona Cardinals...and they all belong behind the Bucs. No arguments there. Not from me, anyway.However, there are some teams ranked ahead of the Bucs which I don’t feel belong there.Such as the Miami Dolphins, who not only fired their head coach but have no idea what they’re doing at the quarterback position.I don’t know if anyone has ever muttered the words that quarterback questions are the key to successful NFL teams, but if they have I’ve never heard them. Add to it a questionable hire at the head coaching position, and the franchise is definitely trending downward as far as league comparisons are concerned.The New York Giants are also ranked ahead of the Buccaneers, and again, what is happening at the quarterback position combined with an underperforming defense. Not good.I may be looking at this from a holistic stand-point while the ESPN writers who combined on this look at it from a final finish point of view. The Atlanta Falcons rank 18th on the back of credit given due to returning players from injury in 2019. Tampa Bay had plenty of those as well.We could go on and on about this Mike Edwards Jersey , and maybe we will on the Locked on Bucs podcast sometime next week. But in the meantime, check out the rankings for yourself and let us know where you think the 2019 Tampa Bay Buccaneers should sit in this ‘way-too-early’ power rankings. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defending their home stadium by defeating the Carolina Panthers 24-17 in Week 13 of the 2018 NFL Regular Season.Here are the five key factors which led the team to victory, and it should come as no surprise the majority of them came from the defensive side of the ball.Here we go!THE PLAY: SEMINOLE INCEPTIONPhoto by Will Vragovic/Getty ImagesWith the Buccaneers leading 10-7, the game had bogged down a bit after three of the game’s first four drives ended in points.Five straight drives ended with punts or turnovers, but the Carolina Panthers were threatening at the Tampa Bay 25-yard line after moving the ball 50-yards on just six plays.With 1:16 remaining in the first half, rookie wide receiver D.J. Moore was targeted on the pass by quarterback Cam Newton who - it would appear - read man coverage trying to hit Moore on a slant.Newton might go to bed thinking Elliott was living in his head as the cornerback drifted out of his slot alignment and right into the path of the ball.By the time running back Christian McCaffrey chased down the Florida State product, Elliott had returned the interception all the way back to the Carolina 32-yard line, instantly eating almost every yard his defense had surrendered on the drive.Five plays later, the Bucs broke the scoreless run in the game themselves, but we’ll get to that in just a moment. For an offense which thrives on rhythm and pace, this play was the second interception on the day for the Buccaneers defense and went a long way to preventing the Panthers from ever looking fully comfortable in the contest.THE PLAY: WHO DOES NO. 2 WORK FOR?Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsTwo weeks ago, effort from the second receiver position was questioned and in some cases hotly debated.This weekend, Chris Godwin got his opportunity to play second-chair behind Mike Evans, and any questions of his own efforts wouldn’t be questioned after this pair of plays by the second-year receiver.The first play will go down in the game book as a simple incompletion, but it was much more than that.Jameis Winston has been playing better since being re-inserted into the starting lineup, but this pass had the potential to bring all of the angst and negativity swarming back upon the gunslinger as he threw a pass right into the breadbasket of Carolina safety Eric Reid.While Reid was likely envisioning his own attempt to run the interception back, Godwin had other plans.But if anyone thought his efforts on the play wouldn’t be replicated again, they were wrong, and it paid off for his team in a much more measurable way one play later. With his quarterback scrambling and the first half winding down, Godwin found space in the back of the end zone and gave Winston a shot at completing a critical scoring pass.The 13-yard touchdown was his first since October 14th against the Atlanta Falcons, and after the Cairo Santos extra point it gave the Tampa Bay Buccaneers a 17-7 lead heading into halftime.THE PLAY: NOT YOUR GRANDFATHER’S DPIKim Klement-USA TODAY SportsAfter the Carolina Panthers opened the second-half with afield goal, it was imperative the Buccaneers’ offense find a way to respond.And respond they did Mike Edwards Tampa Bay Buccaneers Jersey , but they had a little help along the way.Following a second holding penalty called against the Bucs on the drive, the offense had the ball and a 1st-and-20 from their own 47-yard line eight plays after they began the drive from their own 25-yard line.Now, conventional wisdom says the Bucs should have gone with a fairly conservative play call to try and get some or all of the penalty yards back and then work from second and manageable from there.Well, this team is anything but conventional, and on the first down play Winston took a nearly 70-yard shot into the end zone targeting wide receiver Bobo Wilson. Because. Well, why not?The pass fell incomplete and following some incidental contact from Panthers cornerback Donte Jackson, Tampa Bay became the benefactor of a 52-yard defensive pass interference penalty which put the ball on their opponent’s 1-yard line, and gave them a first-and-goal.Peyton Barber punched the ball into the end zone on the very next play, and the Buccaneers successfully answered Carolina’s second-half opening salvo with a big one of their own.THE PLAY: GMAC GETS THE ASSISTPhoto by Will Vragovic/Getty ImagesGerald McCoy finished the game with one tackle. Not for a loss either. Just a run-of-the-mill tackle. No sacks. One tackle.However, it’s his unmeasured contributions which add him to the list this week.On both of Newton’s second-half turnovers - both coming on the Tampa Bay side of the field with the Panthers down just one score - McCoy applied the pressure and quarterback hit which caused the passes to come out lame, and directly led to both critical takeaways for the defense.They may not get notched on official stat sheets, and you might have to go to third-party sites to find the stats at all, but his pressure on the opposing quarterback in key fourth quarter moments directly led to the team’s victory.THE PLAY: WHO?Kim Klement-USA TODAY SportsAndrew Adams. That’s who.The 26-year old from Georgia played his collegiate ball at Connecticut and had one career interception coming into Week 13 for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. His lone interception prior to this weekend came in 2016 when he appeared in fourteen games for the New York Giants.So, unless you’re Jason Pierre-Paul, you probably didn’t have a good grasp of who Adams is as a player.Well, everyone knows who he is now. After three interceptions against Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, Adams will surely be in the running for some Player of the Week honors, and his name will be on the lips of Bucs fans everywhere.If his ball awareness and interceptions weren’t enough, Adams also gave full credit to the defensive line and his coaches for setting the defense up for success by getting consistent pressure on Newton all afternoon. Classy move, young man.And that is how the Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Carolina Panthers in Week 13.