The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ three biggest games after the week off
For a second consecutive season, the Buccaneers are 6-2 in eight games. After eight games of the 2020 season, they have lost three of their next four games to drop to 7-5 before the week off. But this year, they get their pass in Week 9, which allows them to make some mid-season adjustments before the final stretch.
As the NFL moves to 17 regular season games this season, Tampa Bay is about halfway through its schedule. This means that the post-bye stretch race consists of nine games, including five outside of Raymond James Stadium. The defending Super Bowl champions are in good shape at 6-2, but they still have a long way to go as they try to repeat.
Let’s see which are the three most difficult matches on the team’s remaining match list:
As of the week off, the Bucs travel to the nation’s capital for a clash against the Washington football team. This is a rematch for the NFC Wild Card Round 2020, and while Washington is only 2-6 in the year, it still feels like an important game for Tampa Bay. The defending champions haven’t played their best ball in eight games, but they’re still 6-2. In some ways, they’ll likely feel lucky to be 6-2 given the inconsistency of the team as a whole, as well as penalty issues and the number of injuries that have racked up. And with their Week 8 loss to New Orleans, they hit the week off on a negative note.
With the start of the second half of the season, the Bucs have a fresh start. They’ll have the chance to get healthy during the off week, and they’ll be looking to make the same kind of jump in the stretch they did when coming off their leave in 2020. A year ago, Tampa Bay did. adjustments during his week off and won his last four regular season games and carried that momentum to four more playoff wins, leading to the franchise’s second Lombardi Trophy. This Washington road clash could prove tricky, especially with Ron Rivera’s side coming out of their own week off. If the Bucs come out with a win, they’ll be 7-2 and they’ll have the bad taste of Week 8 out of their mouths. A loss, however, would look like a pretty big setback before a Monday night football game in Week 11 against the Giants, who always seem to be playing them hard.
When the 2021 NFL schedule was released, this Week 14 contest between the Bucs and Bills was considered one of the flagship games of the entire season. If things had turned out a little differently in January, it could have been the Bills playing the Bucs for the Lombardi Trophy at Raymond James Stadium. That may not have happened, but as the 2021 season approaches, many have predicted a clash between Tampa Bay and Buffalo in this year’s Super Bowl. And that could definitely be in the cards, as they are two of the best teams in the league so far this season. The Bills are 5-2 and the Bucs are 6-2, and the two appear to be on their way to a big game on December 12.
It might not be a game that has a direct impact on the NFC playoff image, but there will certainly be playoff implications. If all goes according to plan, Tampa Bay could be one step closer to an NFC South title deciding situation. Not to mention that the Bucs will be looking to position themselves for home court advantage throughout the playoffs. And to have it all on the line against one of the AFC favorites? It is a difficult task. Josh Allen has proven to be one of the most dynamic and impressive quarterbacks in the league, and he’s the kind of guy who will threaten the Tampa Bay defense. Looking back at Week 12 of 2020, the Bucs met the Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium and played a close game that ended up being a Super Bowl preview in February. Could this be a preview of what’s to come in February 2022?
Just a week after a highly anticipated game against the Bills, the Bucs will end their season series against the Saints by hosting them at Raymond James Stadium for a Sunday night soccer game. Of course, Tampa Bay hosted New Orleans on Sunday Night Football in Week 9 of the 2020 season, and no one needs to remember how that game went. The Bucs had the final say in knocking out the Saints from the playoffs en route to winning the Super Bowl, but there is just something about this divisional rivalry that has been difficult for Tom Brady and his team. The Saints swept both games of the regular season last year and as the NFC divisional round looked like a turning point in history between these two teams, the Bucs were once again beaten by the Saints in the week 8 – and that was with the third channel quarterback. Trevor Siemian under the center.
So when Sean Payton and his team come to Tampa on December 19, the Bucs will have something to prove. The Saints are without Jameis Winston for the remainder of the season, so the squad will likely belong to Taysom Hill when this game goes. A Hill-led New Orleans team – for one reason or another – could very well cause trouble for the Bucs. On paper, this shouldn’t be a close game. Tampa Bay appear to be the much better team, but they’ll have to prove it. It remains to be seen where the Saints will be in terms of their playoff results by Week 15. They could ramp up their defense to a few wins by December and, if so, this game will have serious implications for the League. NFC South. But even if it doesn’t and New Orleans is simply battling for a wild card spot, the Bucs can’t afford to be swept up in the seasonal series again. They just can’t.
So, Bucs Nation, which game do you think is the biggest game left in Tampa Bay? Tell us what you think!