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NFL Power Rankings 2014: Looking ahead at the Buccaneers' schedule

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The latest power rankings are in, and the Bucs are still awful. Minor bright spot: their future schedule is pretty awful, too.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are 1-8. This is bad. I can't make this look any better than it is. What I can do, though, is make you feel better at the future by pointing out how awful the Bucs' future opponents are.

So let's take a quick look at the Bucs' schedule over the final seven weeks of the season, with a little help from Danny Kelly's power rankings. The Bucs themselves come in 30th place in those rankings, just ahead of the Jaguars and Raiders.

Next week, the Bucs travel to Washington. Power ranking: 26. Then they head over to Chicago, power ranking: 28. Week 13 the Bengals come over. Power ranking: 15. Week 14 is in Detroit, power ranking: 4. Week 15, at the Panthers, power ranking: 27. Week 16, the Packers come to town, power ranking: 6. And finally, the Saints, power ranking: 19.

Hey, that's not too bad. I mean, aside from the Detroit Lions (on the road) and Green Bay Packers, none of those teams are dominant. Three of those teams are in the bottom six of the NFL. The rest are mediocre. It's a good slate of opponents to win some games against.

If the Bucs are genuinely improving (despite continually losing games), beating a few of those horrible opponents is practically a necessity.

Conversely, if the Bucs can't find a way to beat at least a couple opponents over the next seven games, then being optimistic about the future is going to be that much harder.