Advanced metrics prove the NFL screwed Buccaneers with 2024 schedule

Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Baker Mayfield / Alex Slitz/GettyImages

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers supposedly have one of the easiest schedules in the NFL. However, that number is skewed by two guaranteed wins over the Carolina Panthers, along with games against the New York Giants and Denver Broncos.

In reality, it's far tougher than it initially seems.

For example, the Bucs face a four-game stretch against the Baltimore Ravens, Atlanta Falcons, Kansas City Chiefs, and San Francisco 49ers. After their bye, they play four of their next five games on the road.

Of course, there are always ebbs and flows on the schedule—easier stretches followed by tougher games. You can't play the Panthers every week. I get it.

However, dive a little deeper into the numbers, and it becomes clear how difficult the schedule is.

NFL set the Buccaneers up to fail with 2024 schedule release

The NFL has stacked the odds against the Buccaneers, and some fascinating advanced metrics from ESPN Analytics prove why. Tampa Bay has the worst luck in just about every category compared to its NFC South rivals, especially when it comes to rest and playing on a short week.

Back-to-back road trips? The Buccaneers are tied for the most in the NFC South with two.

Then there is "net rest." This calculates the number of rest days you have compared to your opponent that week. Tampa Bay is at minus-seven, the second-worst record in the division. Which NFC South team plays the most opponents coming off their bye week? That would be the Buccaneers with two.

Tampa Bay also has to play on three short weeks, which ties for second in the division, and is tied for the lead in short road weeks.

The Buccaneers have a net rest differential of minus-seven, which is the eighth-worst in the NFL.

In other words, the Buccaneers are playing several games where their opponents have had more rest, including two teams coming off their bye week. It makes an already challenging schedule that much tougher. Facing opponents with more time to rest and prepare isn't a recipe for success.

Thanks for nothing, NFL.

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