Per ESPN’s Mike Clay, the Bucs are projected to have the NFL’s easiest strength of schedule in 2021.
2021 NFL strength of schedule based on current rosters.
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) May 4, 2021
Clay’s projection factors in 2020’s opponent winning percentage for all teams, but it also takes into account the current roster of each team. The Bucs already have the league’s fourth-easiest strength of schedule based off opponent winning percentage. But what puts them at the top is the fact that they’ve returned all 22 starters and multiple, key depth pieces from the 2020 season.
Per the projections, the Bucs have no less than a 58% chance to win all of their games. Believe it or not, the Los Angeles Rams are currently the toughest matchup on the schedule after beating the Bucs, 27-24, last year.
Shaquil Barrett will lead the Bucs in sacks, Carlton Davis III will lead in interceptions, Ronald Jones II will be the team’s leading rusher for the second straight year, and Mike Evans will lead the team in receiving yards; while recording his eighth-straight 1,000-yard season.
This is obviously good news for the defending champs. The only bad news concerning Clay’s projections is that three of the four Bucs’ NFC South rivals are in the upper half of the tier, as well. Carolina has the hardest road out of all of them with the 15th-toughest strength of schedule in the league.
No matter how you cut it, the Bucs are in great shape to repeat in 2021.