The NFL schedule release is always an exciting day for NFL fans. That’s until you find out that your team has, well, just not a favorable schedule.
Of course, we all knew that the Buccaneers were going to be in London for one of their home games, but what we didn’t know is that Tampa Bay wasn’t going to have an actually home game in Tampa Bay from week 3 until week 10.
Yes, you read that correctly, Tampa Bay will not be home from September 22nd until November 10th. It just so happens to be that that seven week stretch is also the most difficult part of the season for Tampa Bay.
Starting in week four, Tampa will travel to Los Angeles to face the Rams who went 13-3 last season, then go to New Orleans, who also went 13-3 for a week five matchup. The team then travels to London for week six divisional matchup against the Panthers before having their bye week during week seven. The traveling isn’t over though. In week eight, Tampa Bay will go back across the country to play the Seahawks and then end the gauntlet with a trip to Tennessee for week 9. If your doing the math at home, that’s a total of 24,024 miles traveled through the teams first eight games.
That’s just downright unfair. Im sorry, but it is. I get it, Tampa has to make a trip at some point to London, but to sandwich that in between two west coast trips and essentially have them play five straight games away from Raymond James Stadium is not right. Not to mention, they will face three teams who made the playoffs, as well as one in Tennessee that was a game away from getting in. The NFL could have and should have done much much better with this seven week stretch.
With that being said, every team has a part of the schedule that they look at and feel like it works in their favor. The so called “easiest” part of the Buccaneers schedule in my opinion is the first three weeks of the season.
If there is an opportunity to get off to a fast start and build some confidence with the new staff, it’s the first three weeks. The 49ers and Giants are both picking in the top 10 of the NFL Draft and the Panthers finished 6-10 last season and Cam Newton’s shoulder is a big question mark. Let’s be honest, the Buccaneers should win all three of these football games. They are the better team in each and every one and there won’t be much film on what the Buccaneers will be trying to do on the field.
If there is one way to combat that brutal seven week stretch, it’s by starting the season 3-0, but it also makes the first three games that much more important.
Hopefully next year, the NFL will remember that they shafted the Buccaneers and help them out with the scheduling.