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Buccaneers 2023 Schedule Analysis

What are the biggest takeaways from Tampa’s upcoming slate?

NFL: MAY 31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers OTA Offseason Workouts Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL released the 2023 game schedule Thursday, and the Buccaneers will see some significant changes compared to recent years. You can see their full schedule below.

Let’s dive into some prominent themes from the Buccaneers schedule release.

Back to 1 p.m.

The Bucs, now sans major-draw Tom Brady and coming off the heels of a disappointing 8-9 record, will play in just two primetime games this season — and they’ll both happen within the first eight weeks. They’ll host the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football during Week 3 (Sept. 25), and then they’ll travel north to play the Buffalo Bills on Thursday Night Football during Week 8 (Oct. 26).

Outside of those, the Bucs will go back to 11 games that begin at 1 p.m. Compare that to just seven in 2022, six in 2021, and seven in 2020. As it turns out, not nearly as many people consider the Kyle Trask and Baker Mayfield show to be must-watch television like literally the greatest quarterback of all time.

Starting Heavy at Home

The Bucs will play four of their first six games at home, which is the most since 2012. Given it will still be peak Florida heat, that might impart a slight advantage for the team. It does also create significantly less travel strain since the team’s only two trips are relatively short ones — to Minnesota in Week 1 and New Orleans in Week 4.

Bundling Up for the Road

The flip side will be a couple chilly sojourns for the fair-weather Buccaneers. Buffalo at the end of October will likely be a nippy night in an especially hostile environment. The team could really be frosty in Week 15 against Jordan Love and the Green Bay Packers in Lambeau. The Bucs largely avoided games like that over the last three years, with their coldest being 29 degrees Fahrenheit at kickoff for the 2020 NFC Championship Game against the Packers.

An Early Bye

One major change from recent seasons will be the team’s bye week. This year will be Week 5, which is the earliest since 2018. Ironically, that year featured three of the same opponents as this year in the first four games — the Eagles, Saints, and Chicago Bears.

For comparison, the prior three seasons (from 2022-20) featured byes in weeks 11, 9, and 13, respectively. No late-season “get right” week, which proved pivotal during the 2020 Super Bowl. Plenty of rest in the season’s first half needs to translate into quicker gelling for the roster ahead of the long stretch to close out the year — a majority of the final 13 contests will be on the road, including a West Coast romp to San Francisco in Week 11.

New QB Nightmares

This isn’t referring to the Trask-Mayfield-John Wolford chimera. No no, this is talking about how the Bucs may be facing their greatest kryptonite several times this year — rookies and first-time starters.

Tampa will presumably face each of the top 3 QBs drafted in the top 10 this year, including the No. 1 overall pick Bryce Young twice (Carolina in weeks 13 and 18). No. 2 pick C.J. Stroud will get his shot in Week 9 when the Bucs play the Houston Texans, and Anthony Richardson and the Indianapolis Colts will follow in Week 12.

They may even face down a man who they passed on — Will Levis, the second-rounder for the Tennessee Titans. It will be Week 10, and the Titans may decide that Ryan Tannehill has seen enough of the reins. The likes of Brock Purdy, Daniel Jones, Kyler Murray, Justin Herbert, and even Zach Wilson have all recently given the Bucs fits, but there will be plenty of opportunities to quash that narrative this year.

Are there any other potential storylines that stick out to you with this schedule, Bucs Nation? Let us know by discussing in the comments below.