Opening stretch isn’t too intimidating:
They say the best way to determine a team’s success for the year is the outcome of the first three games of the regular season. The Bucs play at Miami, home versus Chicago, and at Minnesota. Miami was the only team to go to the playoffs last year of the three and a case could be made that they were the worst team in the playoffs.
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Minnesota started off hot last season and they have a solid defense but they finished 8-8, which is obviously average. Chicago was one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2016 and they have a familiar, inexperienced Quarterback in Mike Glennon. I don’t anticipate they will be much improved by week 2. Overall, those three games shouldn’t strike too much fear into our up-and-coming franchise.
The Patriots game won’t be as bad as expected:
I think it’s common sense to say that the Patriots will be the toughest test this season. I mean they are defending Super Bowl Champions and possibly the greatest dynasty in football history with the GOAT at Quarterback. This is the first game I located when the schedule was released. We get the opportunity to showcase our skills at home on a Thursday night!
New England is forced to travel to Tampa on a short four day break after what should be a tough matchup versus the Carolina Panthers. Needless to say, I breathed a sigh of relief. After further research I also concluded that the Patriots have not had the greatest success in Florida the last several years. They are 1-3 since 2013 versus Miami in the Florida heat. Does the combination of a short week, travel, and the humidity give us an advantage? We’ll find out October 5th!
A home Monday Night Football versus Atlanta could be the biggest game of the season:
For the second straight year the Bucs have been highlighted on Monday Night Football. This also marks the second primetime game in 2017 that is versus one of last year’s Super Bowl contenders. The fact that Atlanta and Tampa are both considered favorites in the NFC South could have an enormous influence as to whom the King of the South will be.
The other exciting aspect of this pivotal matchup is the fact that Tampa is hosting a Monday Night Football game! Tampa has not hosted one since Miami in 2013, a game that they won 22-19. If you are circling a game that could be a statement to the league that Tampa is back, this is the one.
A late bye week followed by a brutal divisional stretch:
The last time the Bucs had a Bye week in the latter half of the season was in 2008 in which the Bye fell on week ten. Ever since then, most Bye weeks have fallen on week four, five, or six. I personally love this. It gives the team a week to recharge late in the season for when things really heat up. Now for the bad news. Four of the last six games are against divisional opponents. The other two teams are Green Bay and Detroit, two playoff teams in 2016. Talk about a gauntlet!
Essentially the Bucs have the easier stretch of the season before the Bye in which the repercussions of a loss are not as great. Technically we could be 5-5 before this period and depending on the divisional results, still win the division. (By the way, I sometimes refer to the Bucs as “WE” no matter who that annoys.) It will be a make or break part of the year in which the Bye could benefit us greatly. December will make for some epic football
Overall, this should be a very exciting season. I do like the idea of mostly one o’clock games so we can fly under the radar. I personally intend on attending the Atlanta game so I can check out the new facilities and the cheap concessions. They even have a Champions lounge for opposing teams!! (LOL) Let’s hope we can upgrade that home record too so we can establish an advantage.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been this excited/optimistic about a season. A few more pieces in the draft, and this could escalate quickly.