Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2014 Schedule: 5 Games That Will Define Season

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2014 Schedule: 5 Games That Will Define Season

Josh McCown Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are coming off a rough 2013 that left them with a 4-12 record, will be looking to rebound. Tampa Bay has a new head coach in Lovie Smith, and a new quarterback in Josh McCown leading them this season. Here are five games that will define the Buccaneers’ season.

5. Week 1 vs. Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton Carolina Panthers
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5. Week 1 vs. Carolina Panthers

Cam Newton Carolina Panthers
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Tampa Bay has the luxury of opening up the season at home against the division rival Carolina Panthers. They could be catching quite the break as well, with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton getting hurt in the preseason. Newton’s rib injury has left his availability for Week 1 as an unknown as of now.

4. Week 2 vs. St. Louis Rams

Vincent Jackson Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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4. Week 2 vs. St. Louis Rams

Vincent Jackson Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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For the second straight week to start the season, the Buccaneers will be facing a team with an injured quarterback. Sam Bradford is out for the season, and it will be Shaun Hill getting the start in his place. With Hill starting and it being a home game, the Buccaneers may find themselves at 2-0 to start the season.

3. Week 3 @ Atlanta Falcons

Gerald McCoy Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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3. Week 3 @ Atlanta Falcons

Gerald McCoy Tampa Bay Buccaneers
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The first road game of the season for the Buccaneers will also be their first and only Thursday Night game of the season. Early season games on Thursday’s tend to be ugly, so this game against the Atlanta Falcons, who are also looking for a bounce back season, will likely be a winnable game for Tampa Bay.

2. Week 8 vs. Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings
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2. Week 8 vs. Minnesota Vikings

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Minnesota Vikings
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Coming off their bye week, Week 8 against the Minnesota Vikings, that shouldn’t be a playoff team, is a must win for the Buccaneers. Tampa Bay should be well rested heading into Week 8 after the bye, and after a tough stretch heading into their bye week, an easy game afterwards is always a nice thing.

1. Week 12 @ Chicago Bears

Lovie Smith Chicago Bears
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1. Week 12 @ Chicago Bears

Lovie Smith Chicago Bears
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Week 12 against the Chicago Bears will be the return of Smith to the city where he use to coach. It will also be the return of McCown to Chicago, as last season he impressed when Jay Cutler was injured, which helped him get the starting gig in Tampa Bay. The Bears will be in the playoff hunt again this year, so a victory in the Windy City would be a great one.

Nick Ziegler is a New York Jets writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Ziggy26x and add him to your network on Google.

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