The Tampa Bay Buccaneers face one of the toughest stretches of their schedule when the season opens up. If they are going to make some noise in 2018, the Bucs need to steal a win or two early.
Throughout the long NFL season, each organization is faced with a major obstacle. For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the month of September is their biggest one
For starters, they will be without their starting quarterback Jameis Winston as he serves a three-game suspension. Unfortunately, Tampa will be facing three of the best team’s in the league in their first three weeks as well.
New Orleans, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh will all give the Buccaneers unique challenges as they will try to survive the opening month of the season.
Dan Parzych of NFLSpinZone.com broke down each team’s biggest obstacle during the season and getting through September was the key for Tampa Bay.
Here are some of Parzych’s thoughts:
"The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were already facing extra pressure heading into the 2018 season after they ended up being one of the biggest disappointments from last year, but the Jameis Winston suspension has taken that pressure to a whole new level. Seeing the Buccaneers go from being a team expected to make the leap to becoming a serious contender in the NFC to winning just five games shows just how much of a disappointment this team was in 2017."
It’s hard to disagree with Parzych’s analysis. The Bucs enter the season with their backs against the wall. After falling flat on their face in 2017 the franchise needs a big turnaround in 2018. Sadly, the Winston suspension puts a limit on the team’s ceiling.
Now, veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick faces a daunting task to open up the season. Even with Winston under center, Tampa would be massive underdogs. It will be an even bigger upset if Fitzpatrick is able to win one of the contests he starts.
The final game of the month will be against the Chicago Bears on September 30. That should be a winnable contest for the Buccaneers. However, a 1-3 start to open the season doesn’t bode well for Tampa Bay’s playoff chances.
If the Bucs can play .500 ball in September, it gives them more room for error with three-quarters of the season remaining. Asking for a perfect month is an unrealistic goal. The team just needs to stay afloat as the season heats up.