As the next season approaches, one thing we will definitely be hoping for is an easy storm season that doesn’t take away our bye week. Last year, an early season storm postponed opening week and Tampa set off to a 16 week marathon. As we all know, that marathon did not do our club any favors and with that lesson of the grind they went through, we can only hope this year our bye week will hopefully be used in a positive manner.
The Buccaneers are only favored in 3 contests this year.
Week 1 against the Saints, we are looking to walk into their stadium as the underdog and come out on top. We finished strong against them last year with an unnecessary win, although any time we are given the chance to beat division rivals we can’t let it slip away. The Saints will feel the pressure week 1. They lost Mark Ingram to a suspension, but Drew Brees will be looking for revenge after that week 17 loss and then being eliminated by the Vikings in the postseason. This will be a great game to watch this revamped team get after Drew.
After that the Buccaneers will face the Eagles followed by a Monday Night Football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Tampa is a 3 point favorite against the Eagles and also a 4 point favorite to the Steelers. I’d like to say we split those and go 1 and 1 but it would be nice to get both of those. Once the Steeler game finishes the Bucs will be on a short week headed to Chicago, where they are looking to pull off a road win before heading into their bye week. As you can see, the schedule started tough and only gets tougher, but coming off the bye week the Bucs will really need to be hitting on all cylinders if they want to make a run to the postseason.
Returning from our bye we head to Atlanta’s new stadium rested and ready for their ground game. With our revamped defense and pass rush, Tampa hope to come out on top and send a message to Atlanta. After that Tampa isn’t favored until week 14 against the Saints again, but week 12 against the up and coming 49ers will be bouncing back and forth between favorite or not as the game actually approaches.
As I mentioned earlier, the Bucs will need to make a run and that run will have to occur following the bye. Yes, we aren’t the favorites for these matches as they fall right now, but matchups against the Browns, Bengals, Panthers, Redskins and Giants in that order will have to be where Tampa really finds their stride. After the Giants, is the niners game. I touched on this earlier and then the Panthers again followed by a our final meeting with the Saints. As I said earlier, in this contest we are favored and for the remaining 3 games we will be the underdogs traveling to Baltimore, then back on the road to Dallas followed by our season finale home against the Falcons.
With sports gambling looking to capitalize on their new legality, I myself, see our Buccaneers capable of finishing the season at 9-7 and finding a way into the playoffs. Go Bucs!