The good and the bad of the Buccaneers schedule release

Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) /
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Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The good in the bad for the Buccaneers

Good: Opportunities to Build Momentum

The Bucs play an incredible amount of very good teams this upcoming season. But the schedule has also given them two separate stretches with the chance to build some confidence. In between the many games against playoff-caliber teams, the Bucs have two three-game runs
against very beatable teams.

The first of these comes after that opening four games. The Bucs get to bounce back with consecutive weeks against the Falcons, Steelers, and Panthers. The Falcons and Panthers are known commodities, they shouldn’t be a problem for Brady and the Bucs, with or without Chris Godwin.

And the Steelers, though they snuck into the playoffs last year, are currently trotting out Mitch Trubisky and an offensive line that ranked as PFF’s 26th ranked unit – even with the help of Ben Roethlisberger’s incredibly quick snap-to-pass rate. The Steelers do have a solid defense, but few people expect Mike Tomlin’s group to be able to keep up with Brady.

The second run of easier opponents forms the final three games of the season. This is very nice for the Buccaneers’ momentum heading into the postseason. Once again, the Falcons and Panthers feature in this run, with the Arizona Cardinals completing the trio. Now, much like the Steelers, the Cardinals were a playoff team last year. However, this is where the beauty of the scheduling comes in.

The Cardinals under Kliff Kingsbury have been two different teams in the two halves of the
NFL season. Last year is a very good example of this, as the Cardinals started the year 7-0 and finished it 4-8 (including playoffs). In fact, this midseason regression has been a problem plaguing Kliff Kingsbury since his college coaching days.

Going back to 2013, Kingsbury-led teams have averaged a 67% win rate in the first seven games of the year, and just a measly 27% win rate in the rest of their games. So, catching the Cardinals later in the year is surprisingly much better for Tampa Bay than an early draw. Hopefully this last stretch allows Tampa to move into the playoffs with a full head of steam.