Just in case you had forgotten about football (God forbid!) and were more focused on baseball or the NHL/NBA playoffs, the National Football League released the 2014 schedule yesterday evening amid grand fanfare. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers find themselves with an interesting 2014 slate, matching up against teams from the AFC & NFC North divisions.
September 7, 2014 PANTHERS 4:25 PM FOX September 14, 2014 RAMS 4:05 PM FOX September 18, 2014 at Falcons 8;25 PM CBS September 28, 2014 at Steelers 1:00 PM FOX October 5, 2014 at Saints 1:00 PM FOX October 12, 2014 RAVENS 1:00 PM CBS October 19, 2014 BYE 1:00 PM October 26, 2014 VIKINGS 1:00 PM FOX November 2, 2014 at Browns 1:00 PM FOX November 9, 2014 FALCONS 1:00 PM FOX November 16, 2014 at Redskins 1:00 PM FOX November 23, 2014 at Bears 1:00 PM FOX November 30, 2014 BENGALS 1:00 PM CBS December 7, 2014 at Lions 1:00 PM FOX December 14, 2014 at Panthers 1:00 PM FOX December 21, 2014 PACKERS 1:00 PM FOX December 28, 2014 SAINTS 1:00 PM FOX
Some key takeaways from the schedule:
- The Bucs open and close the season with consecutive home games, leaving the heart of the schedule full of road trips.
- The Bucs have only one prime time game (Thursday, Sept. 18th at Atlanta), which is not surprising given their 4-12 record from a season ago.
- Three of the Bucs’ first five opponents are division rivals.
- The Bucs appear to avoid most cold-weather situations, though they do travel to Chicago on November 23rd and Cleveland on November 2nd. The trip to Detroit in early December will be played indoors.
- Only 4 teams on the Bucs’ 2014 slate were playoff teams in 2013.
- Tampa Bay will close the season against some of the top quarterbacks in the league: Matt Ryan, RGIII, Jay Cutler, Andy Dalton, Matt Stafford, Cam Newton, Aaron Rodgers, and Drew Brees.
Extremely Too Early Predictions:
- The Bucs will open the season with wins in 2 of their first three games, but will slide into their bye week with three straight losses.
- After the bye week, the Bucs will rip off four wins in a row.
- The win streak will be followed by a three game losing streak at the hands of the Bears, Bengals, and Lions.
- The Bucs will finish the season on a positive note, winning two of their last three games (Panthers, Saints) to finish the season at 8-8.
How do you think the Bucs will do in 2014? What game are you most excited to watch? What is the toughest match-up? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.