The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2012 schedule is out and it features plenty of highlights and downsides. Some of the more notable aspects of the schedule:
- There's just one prime time game, and it's in Minnesota in week eight on a Thursday night. That Thursday night game comes on the heels of a Sunday game against the Saints at home, giving the Bucs only a few days to prepare for the Vikings, especially so when you factor in the travel time to Minnesota. That certainly won't help them win. The fact that the Bucs have no other prime time games makes it likely that the team will face a lot of blackouts this year. Last season, the Bucs avoided home blackouts on just three occasions: once in London, and twice on prime time.
- The Bucs by and large avoid bad weather. There
are two gamesis one game that could see some adverse weather conditions, as the Bucs face the Vikings in Minnesota on October 25(they play in a Dome, oops) and the Broncos in Denver on December 2, but neither game is likely to feature particularly bad weather.
- The Bucs open the season at home, against the Carolina Panthers, then follow that up with to away games against the New York Giants and Dallas Cowboys. Having Cam Newton and a likely refreshed Carolina defense visit your home, then traveling to the Super Bowl champions and a very talented Dallas team is a really tough opening stretch. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Bucs start 0-3. Follow that up with the Redskins coming to town, and if Robert Griffin III turns out to be a hit that could be another really tough game.
- The early bye week. The Bucs will get their week of rest in week 5, which is never good for a team. Bye weeks are useful to allow players to recuperate and rest their bodies. After just four games, the effect of that bye week will be smaller than if it had taken place later in the season. Then again, the last time the Bucs had an early bye week, they won 10 games - in 2010.