The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are tied with the New Orleans Saints for the NFC South lead, are a team on the rise. They've won three straight games to improve to 3-1. Yet low expectations and a season-opening loss to the Detroit Lions conspired, along with their own lackluster play, conspired to keep them fairly low in various power rankings around the Web. So even when Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com raises the Buccaneers two spots in his rankings, as he did this week, they still check in at just No. 13 in the league. Here's Prisco's assessment:
They have the power running game going and that defensive front is starting to play a nasty brand of football. They do have to cut down on the mistakes.
Indeed, lead running back LeGarrette Blount has seen his workload increase each week, with a corresponding increase in yards gained. That culminated in a 127-yard showing against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night, including the go-ahead touchdown.
Elsewhere in the NFC South, the Saints rank No. 6, the Atlanta Falcons stand one spot behind the Bucs at No. 14, and the Carolina Panthers improved to No. 21.