Observation 2: Buccaneers got screwed by NFL with an early bye week
There’s no way to dance around what is probably the biggest factor on the Buccaneers schedule this year. No matter how difficult the opponents might be or what the road trips and home stands look like, the NFL scheduling the Bucs bye week for Week 5 is absolutely brutal.
Having a bye week after just four games means the Bucs will have to navigate 13 straight games without any rest, with at least one of those being a short week. The upshot of Tampa Bay playing a Thursday Night game against the Buffalo Bills is that it sort of functions as a quasi-bye week since the team won’t have to play for ten days, but it still doesn’t take the edge off as much as a normal bye week would.
It might not seem like a big deal on paper, but teams live in routines and that bye week is an important part of physical conditioning. Remember a few years ago when the Steelers essentially lost their bye week? Thankfully Mike Tomlin was in charge to help the team work around that, but even an organization as well run as the Steelers struggled with the adjustment.
At least the Bucs know this is coming, but the early bye week will mean the team will need to make sure it doesn’t run out of gas late in the year during a potential playoff push. Then again, this might be a quiet indication from the league that the expectation is Tampa Bay isn’t going to seriously compete this year the way it has the last three seasons.