The Buccaneers Five Most Pivotal Games In 2023


They say that every game counts the same in the NFL. That’s mostly true seeing as you can only get one win or one loss in any given game. However, we all know that some games are simply more significant than others.

For the Tampa Bay Buccaneers there are many key games on the schedule. Of course all six of their division games are critical for a team that is looking to win the NFC South for a third consecutive year, but there are other games that are even more valuable.

I looked up and down the schedule to find the most pivotal games for the Bucs this season. Here are my five games that will mean the most in determining how this season goes, one way or the other.

Vs New Orleans

We all know the battles between the Buccaneers and the Saints are hard fought. This rivalry has become one of the best and most intense battles in recent years and 2023 should be no exception. This is just one of the reasons this will be a pivotal game for the Bucs.

These two teams will also meet in New Orleans in week four. This will also be an important game for the Bucs, as all division games are. However, this early in the year of learning a new offense combined with going on the road would make this game feel like more of a bonus if the Buccaneers were to win it.

At week seventeen, two teams who expect to be in the midst of a division race will be key. And while it’s possible that one or both of these teams are out of the hunt at this point, in a division where there is no runaway favorite it seems likely this game will hold a lot of weight. It may seem hyperbolic to say that this game will decide the winner of the NFC South, but that could very well be the case.

At Green Bay

We aren’t exactly sure what to expect from the Packers this season. The Aaron Rodgers era is over and first time starter Jordan Love will be taking over the offense. This was always the plan in Green Bay after drafting Love in the first round a few years ago.

Neither the Buccaneers or the Packers are projected to win their divisions this year due to the questions surrounding the quarterback position. However, both rosters are still loaded with talent top to bottom. It’s possible that these two teams will both be in the hunt for a wild card spot.

What excites me about this game is that it will be on the road. A game at the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field late in the season in the thick of a playoff hunt is the type of game legends are made of. This is a game that two evenly matched teams will have to win if they want to find a way into the postseason this year.

At Jacksonville

These two teams were very similar last year, but going in opposite directions. The Bucs fell off from the previous two years, but still managed to win their division with a 8-9 record. The Jaguars rose from the ashes after having the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft and won their division with a 9-8 record.

Now both teams are ready to build off last year and make the next step towards a deep playoff run. These two teams are comparable in overall talent and will likely both be thinking about winning their division at this point in the season. This week sixteen clash should have major playoff implications.

At Minnesota

The NFL took the age old euchre strategy and led with their strength. The Buccaneers and Vikings make not only an epic clash at sea, but will also be one of the most compelling matchups on the schedule. 

The Vikings won their division with a 13-4 record last year before being knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. This record was a little misleading due to the number of one score games they won and the fact that they had one of the worst defenses in the NFL. In reality, they are much closer to the Bucs despite last year’s difference in win total.

This will be an excellent test for this Buccaneers new offense in week one going against a bad defensive unit that didn’t add much talent to that side of the ball in the offseason. This game might be an indicator of what the Bucs season will look like. If Dave Canales and the offense can’t figure things out quickly this year then the entire 2023 season might be circling the drain. 

Vs Detroit

It’s always important to get a win coming out of the bye week. Particularly when playing against one of the best teams in the NFC who will be missing one of their talented young players due to suspension. This is an early bye week that the Bucs can’t waste.

Granted, an early bye week is not ideal. However, this is a chance to finetune the offense after a month of football in the new scheme. This will be the Bucs best chance to fix any early problems they are having.

This will also be a great measuring stick game. The Lions finished last year on a hot streak and they are the favorite to win the NFC North this year. If the Buccaneers can beat a fellow playoff contender, and realistically a team that should be better than them, then it would go along way in their playoff hopes.

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