Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2013 Schedule Preview: Part Three, Must-Win Games


Dec 30, 2012; Foxborough, MA, USA; Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) throws a pass against the New England Patriots during the second quarter at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome back to our four-part preview of the Buccaneers’ 2013 season schedule. Today we take a look at the next four opponents the Bucs will face in the upcoming season, and provide  in-depth look at the teams the Buccaneers will face next year, and see how well the team from Tampa Bay matches up.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have reached the midway point of the season, and are now staring down a tough home stretch. with some big games still yet to come. But following a tough matchup with the Seahawks in week nine, the Bucs have a decent four game stretch where they have a chance to build some momentum for a potential playoff run. Let’s take a look at the third quarter of the Buccaneers’ schedule for 2013.

Week 10: versus the Miami Dolphins (Monday Night Football)

The Buccaneers get an extra day of rest after a long trip to and from Seattle, and get to play under the lights at Raymond James against the Miami Dolphins. The Fins were big spenders over the offseason, bringing in Mike Wallace and Tyson Clabo on offense, while also signing Brent Grimes and Dannell Ellerbe to improve their defense. They’re hoping that young quarterback Ryan Tannehill takes a big step forward in 2013 as well, and they’re counting on Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas to generate a running game.

There is no one area of the Dolphins roster that stands out as dominant, but the combination of defensive ends Cameron Wake and rookie Dion Jordan could be a very scary duo for opposing quarterbacks. Donald Penn and Demar Doston will have their hands full with these skilled pass rushers.

The Buccaneers defense should be able to handle Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline, but the potential balance of the Miami offense could throw a wrench into those plans. The Dolphins are an intriguing team, and thankfully the Bucs will have plenty of film to watch to see just how good they are.

November 25, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) calls a timeout to the referee against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Week 11: versus the Atlanta Falcons

Just four weeks removed from a trip to the ATL, the Buccaneers will host the Falcons as the second game of a nice two game homestand. This game will undoubtedly have a massive impact on the Buccaneers standing in the NFC South if they haven’t already managed to fall off the face of the Earth, so having this as the second game of a homestand is helpful. We’ve already discussed the matchup on the previous schedule preview. So check that out if you haven’t done so yet.

This game could be huge for the Buccaneers, and is virtually a must-win if they want to take home the NFC South crown. But if the Buccaneers are struggling coming into this game, it’s either going to be a lifeline for a stretch run, or the nail in the coffin for their playoff hopes.

Week 12: at the Detroit Lions

The Buccaneers take off after a two game stretch at home and head to Detroit to take on Megatron and the Lions. The Lions haven’t done a ton this offseason, but there are some new pieces in town which may help bring them out of the NFL basement.

Reggie Bush joins Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson on offense, and Stephen Tulloch steps into the middle of the Lions’ defense. A few rookies like Darius Slay and Ziggy Ansah are slated to see the field, as well.

This is a must-win for the Buccaneers under any circumstances. Darrelle Revis gets a chance to put his money where his mouth is against the best wideout in the NFL, and the offense should have an easy time against a less than impressive defense.

Week 13: at the Carolina Panthers

Once again, the Buccaneers are facing an NFC South foe for the second time, and like the week 11 game against Atlanta, this one could be big within the division. The Panthers may not be contenders, but the Buccaneers will have to take care of them at home and on the road to keep up with the Saints and Falcons. Again, refer to the last schedule preview for my thoughts on the Panthers.