The Buccaneers 2023 schedule has now been released and with that, people can start to predict wins and losses. The 2023 Bucs will look a bit different than years past and with that, a new era of Buccaneers football can begin.
Let's just get this out of the way though, these are simply predictions based on what the teams look like today. Injuries can and will happen during a season and they are impossible to predict. Let's dive right into this.
Week 1 @ Minnesota Vikings, 1:00 PM EST
The Bucs travel to Minnesota to open their season with a matchup against the 2022 NFC North champs. Tampa’s secondary will certainly be tested with Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison and TJ Hockenson on the Minnesota offense. However, the Vikings defense was vulnerable at times last season so the Bucs new look offense could find some success regardless of who is under center.
Regardless though, the Vikings are a solid football team and the Bucs could be a group still looking to find its way and identity. I will give this one to the home team.
Loss (Record 0-1)
Week 2 Vs Chicago Bears, 1:00 PM EST
The Bucs home opener is against Justin Fields and the Bears. Chicago had the number one pick in this year’s draft but traded it to the Panthers in a deal that landed them an immediate impact player in D.J. Moore. With more weapons and an improved offensive line, the Bears are hoping Fields can take that next step.
Fortunately for the Bucs though, I think they catch the Bears at the right time and Fields is not yet in sync with his new offensive pieces resulting in Tampa sending the fans home happy.
Win (Record 1-1)
Week 3 Vs Philadelphia Eagles, 7:15 PM EST, Monday Night Football
The defending NFC champs come to town for a matchup on Monday Night Football. There is no doubt that this is the toughest test yet for the Buccaneers as the Eagles have made more additions on both sides of the ball since last season. The last time Tampa Bay saw this Eagles team, it was much different than what they will see on September 25th. The Bucs just simply don’t have enough to steal this one.
Loss (Record 1-2)
Week 4 @ New Orleans Saints, 1:00 PM EST
After two straight home games the Bucs head to New Orleans for their first division matchup of the year. The Saints made a splash this offseason adding Derek Carr to the mix in hopes that they can regain the NFC south crown. Even though Tampa Bay swept the Saints in 2022, both games were very difficult and could have gone either way. Carr is an upgrade at QB for New Orleans and I think that makes a difference in this one in Nola.
Loss (Record 1-3)
Week 5 BYE
Way too early for a bye week, by the way.
Week 6 Vs Detroit Lions, 1:00 PM EST
The Lions come to town after the Bucs bye week and at 1-3, the Bucs need to get a win here sooner rather than later. Detroit is an ascending team that almost made the playoffs last season, so they are no joke. However, Jared Goff is still their quarterback and it is impossible to tell what you may get from him week to week. While the Lions have a chance to go to the playoffs, these young teams can be vulnerable at times and the rested Bucs take advantage.
Side note: This has to be the creamsicle game, right? I mean c’mon, it's too perfect.
Win (Record 2-3)
Week 7 Vs Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 PM EST
After a win against Detroit, the Bucs are home again, this time against the Atlanta Falcons. The Falcons made a lot of splashes in the offseason, maybe none bigger than drafting running Bijan Robinson with the 8th overall pick. They are ready to compete in the division and Atlanta is no longer a push over. Division games are always tough but I think the Bucs squeak out a W here to win two in a row for the first time this season and get back to .500.
Win (Record 3-3)
Week 8 @ Buffalo Bills, 8:15 PM EST, Thursday Night Football
The Bucs play their second and final primetime game of the season when they head to Buffalo. The Bills are a team that still has Super Bowl aspirations and the Bucs simply don’t at this point. A short week, on the road, against one of the best teams in the NFL? The schedule makers did not do the Bucs many favors with this one.
Loss (Record 3-4)
Week 9 @ Houston Texans, 1:00 PM EST
Tampa Bay remains on the road and faces C.J. Stroud and the Houston Texans. While things are finally starting to look up for this Texans team, they still are a ways off from competing for a playoff spot. Facing rookie QBs is always dangerous because it is the unknown factor, but the Bucs handle business on the road and close out a still rebuilding Houston team.
Win (Record 4-4)
Week 10 Vs Tennessee Titans, 1:00 PM EST
The Bucs return to Raymond James Stadium for a date with the Titans. At this point in the season, it could very well be Will Levis starting this game depending on how Tennessee’s season goes. The Titans are always well coached, but their roster also has a lot of flaws and the Bucs could exploit some of them. By this time of year, injuries will almost surely play a factor one way or another and while I can’t predict those, I do think the Bucs come out on top in this one to get over .500 for the first time all season.
Win (Record 5-4)
Week 11 @ San Francisco 49ers, 4:05 PM EST
Heading over to the west coast, the Bucs face the 49ers who rally handled them last season. There is some uncertainty over who the Niners QB may be at this point, but one thing that is for certain is the San Francisco defense still will be one of the best.
Traveling to the west coast is always tough and it is even tougher when it is against a team of the 49ers caliber. The Bucs are outmatched in this one.
Loss (Record 5-5)
Week 12 @ Indianapolis Colts, 1:00 PM EST
The Bucs could face another rookie QB in Anthony Richardson when they travel to Indy. The Colts are in a weird phase right now where their roster is not quite good enough to be a Super Bowl contender, but they also still have some serious talent on both sides of the ball. Richardson could give the Bucs defense some trouble and I think this could be a game that the Bucs let slip away. Richardson makes a splash play that breaks the backs of the Bucs defenders and the team can’t overcome it.
Loss (Record 5-6)
Week 13 Vs Carolina Panthers, 1:00 PM EST
A division rival comes to a town and this is the first taste the Bucs will get of the new look Panthers with Bryce Young as their quarterback. Like Atlanta, Carolina is a team that is looking to compete in the NFC South now and hope that they finally found their answer at QB. After losing two straight, the Bucs come up with a way to take this one and rebound to potentially save their season as well.
Win (Record 6-6)
Week 14 @ Atlanta Falcons, 1:00 PM EST
Another division game and this time the Bucs wrap up their season series with the Falcons on the road. These division games are always important, but divisional games late in the season could make or break a season. Unfortunately, I’m not sure the Bucs will be able to keep their success against Atlanta going as they fall on the road in a game that might come back to haunt them.
Loss (Record 6-7)
Week 15 @ Green Bay Packers, 1:00 PM EST
Tampa heads up north to play the Packers in a game that has a chance to have some not so great weather conditions for the Bucs. Going to Green Bay in mid December is not ideal for a team like the Bucs. I think that plays a factor in this one as Jordan Love is fully settled into is starting role and the Bucs drop a critical game.
Loss (Record 6-8)
Week 16 Vs Jacksonville Jaguars, 4:05 PM EST
The Bucs have a Christmas Eve matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars and this will be their first look at Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars had an incredible turnaround in 2022 and hope to take the next step in contention this season. This game will be a tough one for Tampa as the Jags have one of the better rosters in the entire league and Lawrence has proven that he is here to stay. Jacksonville gives the Bucs a lump of coal and their third straight loss for Christmas.
Loss (Record 6-9)
Week 17 Vs New Orleans Saints, 1:00 PM EST
The Bucs home finale is against the New Orleans Saints and by this point with a record of 6-9, the playoffs are likely out of the picture but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t feel good to knock off the rival Saints to close out Raymond James Stadium for the year. The Bucs get the job done and snap their three game losing streak to send the fans home happy one last time.
Win (Record 7-9)
Week 18 Vs Carolina Panthers, Time TBD
Tampa Bay closes out their season with the Carolina Panthers who may need this game if they are still competing for the division or a wild card spot. The Panthers played the Bucs tough in 2022 and I expect that to continue. Tampa got them in Tampa, now I think it is Carolina’s time to return the favor and end the Bucs season on a sour note.
Loss (Record 7-10)
With the Bucs missing the playoffs and having another losing record, there will be a lot of debate about whether to retain Todd Bowles or not. Change could be coming to Tampa Bay if they miss the playoffs, but at the same time the team remained competitive in most games. Winning seven games honestly may be the worst case scenario for Tampa. Not good enough to make the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a top draft pick.
This exercise was solely for fun, so don’t take it too seriously. What do you think the Bucs record will be in 2023? Sound off in the comment section!