The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are one of the NFL‘s most prominent up-and-coming teams. After a horrendous 2011 season, the team rebounded last year under new head coach Greg Schiano, and finished with seven wins in the very competitive NFC. They did flirt with a wild-card spot late in the season, so fans will no doubt expect them to be right back there in 2013.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at the Bucs’ regular season schedule:
Week 1 – @ New York Jets
Week 2 – New Orleans Saints
Week 3 – @ New England Patriots
Week 4 – Arizona Cardinals
Week 5 – BYE
Week 6 – Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7 – @ Atlanta Falcons
Week 8 – Carolina Panthers (TNF)
Week 9 – @ Seattle Seahawks
Week 10 – Miami Dolphins (MNF)
Week 11 – Atlanta Falcons
Week 12 – @ Detroit Lions
Week 13 – @ Carolina Panthers
Week 14 – Buffalo Bills
Week 15 – San Francisco 49ers
Week 16 – @ St. Louis Rams
Week 17 – @ New Orleans Saints
As you can see, Tampa is looking at an early bye in week five, and after that, business really picks up. This makes the team’s first quarter of the season even more crucial, as falling behind in the NFC, won’t be a good thing.
Week one presents an intriguing road matchup with the Jets. This will likely be a game that can go either way, but if the Bucs can escape the Big Apple with a W, it could set the tone for the rest of the year. Things won’t get any easier in weeks two and three, with the Saints coming to town, and then a trip to Foxborough. The Cardinals present a winnable game in week four, but as we all know, nothing is easy in the NFL.
If Tampa can at least break even in the first quarter of the season, they’ll be very much afloat following their bye for the remainder of the season. Starting in a 1-3 hole, though, might sink the ship before it really gets going.
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