The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kickoff against the Dallas Cowboys in roughly two weeks. Which means hot takes, predictions, and projections are taking the internet by storm. In this article, I’ll predict the Buccaneer’s season record game by game, with an explanation of my thought process. Lets jump right in, starting with Thursday Night Football.
Week 1: vs Dallas Cowboys TNF
This game gets more interesting by the day. Dak Prescott is clearly dealing with an undisclosed shoulder injury that had the Cowboys consult a baseball team. That’s not good news. I don’t think Prescott will come into this game healthy, which means the Buccaneers can pin their ears back and expose his injured throwing arm.
Week 2: vs Atlanta Falcons
It’s been almost five years since the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead in Super Bowl 51. Since then, the Falcons have been notorious for blown leads, and just downright disgraceful clock management. Kyle Pitts should be an elite option on the offensive side of the ball, but it’s the defense that needs help. Tampa Bay should win this game, but the NFC South seems primed for shootouts in 2021.
Week 3: @ Los Angeles Rams
The addition of Matthew Stafford makes the Los Angeles Rams a legitimate Super Bowl contender in 2021. Sean McVay is one of the best young coaches in the NFL and Raheem Morris is a respected defensive coordinator in league circles. A trip out West will be tough for the Buccaneers to overcome, and I have them losing their first game of the season.
Week 4: @ New England Patriots SNF
Tom Brady comes home to Gillette Stadium which very well could be the most anticipated game of the year. Bill Belichick uncharacteristically spent big money in free agency after a sub-par 2020 season. I don’t see a universe where Tom Brady loses the ultimate revenge game though, even if the best coach in NFL history is on the other side.
Week 5: vs Miami Dolphins
The Miami Dolphins went a quiet 10-6 last year, just narrowly missing the playoffs. Tua Tagovailoa held the offense back, but I think he takes a step forward in 2021. Surprisingly, Miami has one of the better rosters in the NFL, but it won’t be enough to beat the Buccaneers after a huge win over the Patriots
Week 6: @ Philadelphia Eagles TNF
I’m going to be blunt about it, the Philadelphia Eagles stink. Since winning the Super Bowl in 2018, the franchise has absolutely imploded losing many key pieces that brought them success. I don’t think Jalen Hurts has the talent to overcome a poor roster and sub-par coaching, and Tampa Bay should be able to control most of the game.
Week 7: vs Chicago Bears
Is it just me or does it seem like the Buccaneers play the Chicago Bears every week? We all remember the fourth down fiasco in the windy city, especially Tom Brady. If Justin Fields gets the nod, this will be a tough game. But I don’t trust Matt Nagy to make the right decision, which means Andy Dalton will likely be the starter this late in the season. That’s easy pickings for one of the best defenses in the league.
Week 8: @ New Orleans Saints
Speaking of revenge games, it looks like Jameis Winston will get the nod to replace Drew Brees as the starting quarterback this season. With that in mind, this game is incredibly hard to predict, as we don’t know if Michael Thomas will be back at this point in time. I’ll give the Saints the win at home, but I certainly don’t feel confident about it.
Week 10: @ Washington Football Team
Surprisingly, the Washington Football Team was the Buccaneers most difficult opponent in the playoffs last season. The absence of Devin White certainly didn’t help, but it was telling that a 7-9 team could play that well in a playoff game. Unfortunately for Washington, I doubt their offense will be much better in 2021, and Tampa Bay should win in a low scoring game.
Week 11: vs New York Giants MNF
Last year’s game against the Giants ended in dramatic fashion as Antoine Winfield Jr. narrowly broke up a pass for the game tying two point conversion. But that was then and this is now. I have zero faith in Daniel Jones moving forward, and the Buccaneers have a much better team at every position. This should be another easy win.
Week 12: @ Indianapolis Colts
In my opinion, the Indianapolis Colts are one of the more overrated teams in the league. I understand they have a solid offensive line and defense, but the quarterback situation is a mess. In this league, you can do everything right, but get the quarterback wrong, and see yourself on the outside looking in when it comes to the playoffs.
Week 13: @ Atlanta Falcons
The Buccaneers already secured the win in week two against the Falcons, and I don’t suspect this week will be any different. The NFC South is full of mediocre teams in general, paving the way for a division win.
Week 14: vs Buffalo Bills
I don’t know how this wasn’t scheduled as a primetime game but yet here we are. Josh Allen absolutely lit up the league last season with his arm and with his legs. I think Devin White and Lavonte David can mitigate most of the ground game, but this young secondary needs to step up their game to stop Steffon Diggs and company. Good thing this game is in Tampa Bay, December in Buffalo would not have been ideal.
Week 15: vs New Orleans Saints SNF
The Buccaneers will get their revenge when the Saints travel to Tampa Bay on Sunday Night Football. We all remember the beatdown that occurred last year, but this isn’t the same team that we saw get blown out at home. Jameis Winston will throw one to many interceptions and the Buccaneers will continue to lock up the number one seed in the NFC
Week 16: @ Carolina Panthers
The addition of Sam Darnold is intriguing but I don’t think it will make much of a difference this season. The offense does have some juice, but the roster is just mediocre overall. Tampa Bay rides to 13-2
Week 17: @ New York Jets
It’s the New York Jets. They have Zach Wilson who is incredibly talented. But come on, it’s the Jets
Week 18: vs Carolina Panthers
With the one seed all but locked up, I think we could see Bruce Arians rest some starters for the playoffs. We might see the ones play for a half just to reduce rust with an upcoming bye week, but I could see the backups getting significant playing time in the second half. The Panthers might still have a wildcard birth to play for, so for that reason, I’ll give them the win.
The 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a much better team than last season, which says a lot since they are coming off of a Super Bowl title. I expect the regular season hiccups to be at a minimum this year, with an easy path to the playoffs through Raymond James Stadium.