Is the desk set for a Tampa Bay repeat?
The NFL unveiled the 2021 regular-season schedule on Wednesday, and there’s so much for the defending Super Bowl champions and their followers to love.
From the power of schedule, the order of opponents, the position of the bye and the way in which the season concludes, Tampa Bay seems to have some of the favorable regular-season slates within the league.
As they made plans for their title protection quest, Tampa Bay officers managed to retain all 22 starters from their Super Bowl roster. The Buccaneers grew to become the primary championship squad within the wage cap period (since 1994) to take action.
And now, given the way in which the NFL’s schedule-makers laid issues out, the Bucs’ possibilities of repeating appear that a lot stronger.
TOP 10 GAMES:Buccaneers have multiple must-see matchups in 2021
Here are the weather that play into the Buccaneers’ favor throughout their 2021 marketing campaign:
• Strength of schedule – The Buccaneers didn’t win their division in 2020, and which means they didn’t draw the hardest potential slate of opponents in 2021. Only 5 of the groups exterior the division – the Rams, Dolphins, Saints, Colts and Bills – posted successful data, and simply six Bucs foes made the playoffs (Washington received the NFC East with a 7-9 document). The groups Tampa Bay faces this season went a mixed 126-145-1 in 2020, adequate for a successful proportion of .465. That means Tampa Bay owns the fourth-easiest schedule within the league.
• Favorable opening stretch – The Buccaneers will play their first two video games at dwelling earlier than heading out for back-to-back street video games (Los Angeles and New England) adopted by alternating dwelling and street video games over the following 4 matchups. Of their first eight opponents, solely three (Rams, Dolphins and Saints) owned successful data in 2020. Continuity ought to serve the Buccaneers nicely, particularly early. With fewer starters enjoying vital preseason minutes lately (particularly now that 2021 will function solely three exhibition video games), many groups spend the primary month of the season discovering their id. But the Bucs know who they’re and the way they wish to go about their enterprise.
The similar can’t be mentioned of their foes. Dak Prescott will be re-acclimating himself to the game after lacking most of final season with a fractured and dislocated ankle. The Falcons possible will nonetheless be studying below new head coach Arthur Smith. The Rams and Matthew Stafford might nonetheless be figuring out the kinks. And New England, Miami, Chicago and New Orleans all have skilled numerous levels of change this offseason as nicely.
The first two months of season seemingly current the chance for Tampa Bay to storm out of the gates.
• Well-placed bye – Teams by no means need their bye week too early or late within the season. The placement of the bye issues much more now that the NFL has expanded the common season by per week. And the break actually couldn’t have come at a extra favorable time for Tampa Bay. The Bucs will play eight straight video games, hit the bye, after which return for the remaining 9 video games. Tampa Bay has the chance to get to the halfway level of the season, heal up after which hit the homestretch wholesome and primed for success.
• Softer homestretch? – Tampa Bay has 4 divisional video games within the second half of their season, enjoying Atlanta and New Orleans as soon as every and Carolina twice. The Dec. 12 matchup with Buffalo might really feel like a Super Bowl preview. But from there, the schedule might function 4 matchups in opposition to groups with dropping data: New Orleans (relying on quarterback play), Carolina twice and the Jets. This setup might assist the Bucs construct momentum heading into the playoffs, simply as they did final season.
• Big stage – The Bucs host Dallas in the NFL’s kickoff celebration on Sept. 9. And from there, they play probably 4 extra video games on the nationwide stage.Teams sometimes dislike enjoying Thursday evening video games, however Tampa will get its second such contest out of the way in which early within the yr (Week 6 at Philly). From there, their remaining prime-time video games happen on Monday and Sunday nights, giving the group and their soon-to-be-44-year-old quarterback ample relaxation home windows between video games.
Winning Super Bowls back-to-back isn’t simple, and every season brings new challenges. However, based mostly on the configuration of their 2021 schedule, the street again to the Super Bowl actually seems promising for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.