Disappointing as it is for Bucs fans to simply see their team at the bottom of their division, there's this to consider: Tampa Bay is at the bottom of what might be the worst division the NFL has seen since it went to eight four-team divisions in 2002.
The NFC South's four teams are a combined 5-19-1 in games outside the division -- the Bucs' win at Pittsburgh is one of those wins -- and that puts them on pace to challenge the worst record by any division: 10-30 by the NFC West in 2008, which had a 9-7 division champ in Arizona, followed by the 49ers (7-9), Seahawks (4-12) and Rams (2-14).
Oddly, the NFC West had three terrible seasons from 2008-10 -- going 10-30, 12-28 and 13-27 out of the division -- but then last season matched the best record ever by a division, going 30-10 out of division behind Seattle (13-3), San Francisco (12-4) and Arizona (10-6), with the Rams in last place at 7-9.
How bad is this year's NFC South? Division-leading New Orleans, at 4-5, would be a game and a half out of fourth place in the AFC North, where every team has two more wins than losses. Consider overall point differential -- five of the NFL's eight divisions have each outscored their opponents over the course of the season, and the NFC West is at minus-2 points. That leaves the AFC South -- at minus-115 points -- and then the NFC South, which has been outscored by 181 points in games this season.
And again: The Saints, Falcons and Panthers are a combined 4-0 against the Bucs, but a combined 6-17-1 against the rest of the NFL.
To avoid being the worst division the NFL has seen since realignment, the NFC South must go 5-10 in its remaining 15 games outside the division. And of those 15 opponents, only three have less than four wins -- two being the Bucs' next two games against the Redskins (3-6) and Bears (3-6). So if the NFC South is to avoid resetting an NFL low, they may need the Bucs' help to do so.