If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ defensive unit has looked like one of the NFL’s best in its first four weeks, it’s because it absolutely has been.
The Bucs remain the only team in the NFC South with a positive point differential, and the defense is a huge reason why. The team isn’t only one of the best defenses in the league by points allowed, but advanced metrics also favor Tampa Bay and have it as boasting one of the NFL’s elite defenses through four weeks.
The first metric is EPA, or Expected Points Allowed. Naturally, for a defense, you want that to be lower, or in this case, in the negatives. As it stands, the Bucs are currently sixth in overall defensive EPA/play with a rating of -0.110, per rbsdm.com. The Bucs particularly shine with their rushing defense, managing -0.126 EPA/play in that area.
Other advanced metrics back up this claim too, though. The Bucs are also sixth in DVOA (Defense-adjusted Value Over Average), which calculates for a team’s success relative to the season average. The Bucs defense has a DVOA of -12.7%, per FTNFantasy, making it another stat to add to Tampa Bay’s impressive run so far.
There are certainly some tough offensive opponents ahead for Tampa Bay that will test this unit. But NFC South teams beware — to beat the Bucs will require going above and beyond if the ball is in your hands.