Head Coach Lovie Smith returns to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with hopes of guiding the team back to its glory days of the late ’90s that culminated with a Super Bowl win in 2002. Under the guidance of new GM Jason Licht, the team has invested in bringing in quality free agents like Michael Johnson and Josh McCown while getting rid of the dead weight like Mike Williams this off-season. The team also has the seventh pick in the upcoming draft and many expect them to select a difference maker that will add to their journey back to being competitive
Unfortunately the NFL released its 2014 schedule today and Bucs fans hoping for a quick turnaround were hit with a reality check after looking at the first six games to start the season. The road to respectability will be rough in 2014, and it may not get smoothed out until the 2015 season.
Week 1: vs Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Sept 7 at 4:25PM Eastern
Week 2: vs St. Louis Rams Sunday, Sept 14 at 4:25PM Eastern
Week 3: @ Atlanta Falcons, Thursday, Sept 18 at 8:25PM Eastern
Week 4: @ Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday, Sept 28 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 5: @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday, October 5 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 6: vs Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct 12 at 4 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 7: BYE
Week 8: vs Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Oct 26 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 9: @ Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Nov 2 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 10: vs Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Nov 9 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 11: @ Washington Redskins, Sunday, Nov 16 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 12: @ Chicago Bears, Sunday, Nov 23 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 13: Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Nov 30 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 14: @ Detroit Lions, Sunday, Dec 7 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 15: @ Carolina Panthers, Sunday, Dec 14 at 1PM Eastern
Week 16: vs Green Bay Packers, Sunday, Dec 21 at 1:00PM Eastern
Week 17: @ New Orleans Saints, Sunday, Dec 28 at 1:00PM Eastern
The continuity and growth of the offense will be tested early against the three division rivals in addition to playing the Rams, Steelers, and Ravens who are known to have very good defenses.
Matched up against the AFC and NFC North will be a tough task as Minnesota and Cleveland appear to be the only games they will be favored in.
Best case scenario: The defense adjusts to the Tampa 2 quickly and the return of Doug Martin carries the team to a few low scoring victories.
They finish 7-9
Worst case scenario: That last season success with the Bears was a mirage for McCown and he is nothing more than a career backup and Mike Glennon isn’t ready to be a starter either. The defense struggles to adapt to the change in scheme and fail to generate the pass rush needed to stop prolific offenses they will face in New Orleans, Green Bay and Detroit and give up big plays all season.
They finish the season 4-12