The 2013-14 NFL schedule for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has just been released. While the list of opponents were known for some time, the order in which they will be played in is now official. Based on last year’s records, the Bucs’ difficulty of schedule is ranked at 16th. Listed below is the schedule for the upcoming season:
Week 1: at New York Jets
Week 2: vs New Orleans Saints
Week 3: at New England Patriots
Week 4: vs Arizona Cardinals
Week 5: Bye
Week 6: vs Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7: at Atlanta Falcons
Week 8: vs Carolina Panthers
Week 9: at Seattle Seahawks
Week 10: vs Miami Dolphins
Week 11: vs Atlanta Falcons
Week 12: at Detroit Lions
Week 13: at Carolina Panthers
Week 14: vs Buffalo Bills
Week 15: vs San Francisco 49ers
Week 16: at St. Louis Rams
Week 17: at New Orleans Saints
The Bucs have some stars on their roster highlighted by Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson and Lavonte David. For 2013, Tampa Bay is slated to make two appearances on primetime television. In Week 8, the Bucs will battle divisional rival Carolina on NFL Network. Two weeks later, Tampa will face off against the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill on ESPN’s Monday Night Football. Playing in a small market, the young Bucs will grab some of the spotlight as they showcase their talent in front of a national audience.
To begin the season, Josh Freeman and Co. will travel north to take on the Jets. Gang Green went 6-10 last season, but their play on the field looked much worse than what their record indicates. With two teams depending on the run to establish the offense, expect a physical matchup right off the bat.
In a Week 6 home game, the Bucs get a shot at the new-look Eagles. Philadelphia head coach Chip Kelly hopes to implement an offense based on speed and tempo, so Tampa’s defense better get their track shoes on.
The Bucs get to welcome the defending NFC Champion 49ers to Raymond James Stadium in Week 15. Led by Colin Kaepernick and Patrick Willis, Tampa will have a steep challenge ahead of them in this December meeting.
Two tough road games that jump off the page include a date with New England and Seattle. They each have an elite-caliber quarterback under center, can run the ball, and feature young defenses on the rise. With those combinations in place, both teams rank among the best in the NFL. The Bucs finished 32nd in pass defense last year, so Gerald McCoy and the defensive line must be ready to put consistent heat on Tom Brady and Russell Wilson.
If the Bucs want to take another leap forward under head coach Greg Schiano, they need to improve their overall defense, while providing another big-play weapon for Freeman.
Tampa has potential, but they need to turn that potential into reality or else it will be a rough 2013 for the pirates.