Here are some quick hitter thoughts now that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2013 regular season schedule has been announced:
- The first four games will be a good test for the Buccaneers. Two winnable games against the Jets and Cardinals, split by two tough games against the Saints and Patriots. With a bye week after these four match-ups, it will be a good mix of game tape for Coach Schiano and his crew to look over and assess the team’s situation.
- Two primetime games at home is an awesome opportunity for the Buccaneers to get their name in the national conversation. Fortunately, both games are winnable (against the Panthers and Dolphins) which means the Buccaneers can start to build a positive image to fans across the country by putting up a pair of wins on NFL Network and ESPN, respectively.
- The finish to this schedule is brutal. A home game against the Bills is a breather of sorts before taking on the defending NFC Champion 49ers and then heading to St. Louis and New Orleans for the final two games on the road. If the Buccaneers want to make the playoffs, it will likely come down to those final two games on the road, so it will be interesting to see how the team holds up in these key games.
- The Buccaneers could have additional primetime games thanks to flex scheduling. Weeks 11 to 17 feature flex scheduling, which allows the NFL to move a game to Sunday Night Football to provide the best game for the national audience. A Week 15 game against San Francisco and a Week 11 game against Atlanta may provide excellent drama, and Week 17 against the Saints could be for a playoff spot.
- There are chances for winning streaks, but also chances for losing streaks. The Buccaneers definitely have a segmented season, with some easier stretches and some more difficult ones. It will be interesting to see how the team copes with the changes in opponent. For instance, Weeks 12-14 are all winnable games, as the Buccaneers face the Lions, Panthers, and Bills. Dropping a game there sets up a dire situation heading into the closing three games mentioned above, starting with the 49ers.
We’ll be bringing more breakdowns and predictions as the offseason wears on. But for now, let us know your thoughts on the schedule, and what games you’re most excited for.