By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on April 24, 2014
It's 2014 and the Buccaneers are looking for a fresh start with a new coach. The NFL schedules are now out, so let's take a look at what challenges lie ahead for Coach Lovie Smith and his Tampa Bay squad.
Why not open up your season with a win at home? It will be a tough task against the defending NFC South champs, but rivalry games are usually hard to predict. Week 1 is always big, so coming out on top over the Panthers would be a great start to the season for the Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay's only primetime game of the year comes week 3 on Thursday night. The matchup will be aired on CBS for the entire country to see. Looking back at the Falcon's performance last season, the Bucs can easily march into the ATL and bag a division win.
Does Bucs' defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier want a shot at his old team? You bet. The Vikings may not be Tampa Bay's toughest contest of the season (unless Adrian Peterson goes Adrian Peterson on them), but snagging a victory for Leslie Frazier would be a feel-good game for the Buccaneers.
How about a Lovie Smith return to Chicago for the first time since being relieved of his duties? Coach Smith was fired after going 10-6 in 2012. The Bears failed to make the playoffs, but the NFC North is not the easiest of divisions. There is a target painted on the Chicago Bears' backs, and Lovie Smith is the artist in front of the canvas.
Everybody wants to win their final game of the year; no team wants to leave fans disappointed. Beating the Saints will be tough, but most rivalry games are. Tampa Bay fell just short to New Orleans last year, but 2014 could easily be different. The Saints will likely be looking to close out the season and head to the playoffs, so the Bucs better be on top of their game. Who knows? Tampa could be playing for a seed in the postseason as well.
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