As for cold weather, its the end of November which is a possibility of a snow/cold game for Tampa Bay, but its at Chicago, more on that later! Dec. 14th Bucs play at Carolina, which also could be a cold game. Thats about it, however you get the feeling Lovie Smith will coach the Bucs like Dungy, to not make excuses, then maybe we can stop with it too.
You get the feeling the Rams are not looking at US on the schedule Sept. 14th and saying “Pack more Gatorade”!
As for NO.1, well thats another story. The 2014 Bucs have the dubious distinction of being the only Bucs team ever to open the season with two home games, and close out the season with two home games too. Common sense will tell you, that means a lot of road games in the middle, and the NFL really handed us a Doozie!
After opening home with the Panthers (9/7) and Rams (9/14), the Bucs have 4 days to rest and play on the road against the Falcons. Then the Bucs have ten days to get ready to play Pittsburgh on the road, the second of three straight road games. The 3rd is at New Orleans, which on October 5th is the earliest I can remember the Bucs having completed half of their divisional games already. The last three are spread out from weeks 10-17.
If thats not bad enough, then the Bucs have a stretch of 4 of 5 road games from week 11 till 15, right in the heart of the playoff push. @Washington, @Chicago, Home vs Cincinnati then @ Detroit and @ Carolina will be a daunting task for Lovie’s Bucs.
The Bucs close out the year with Home games vs Green Bay and New Orleans. Bucs season may end on 12/28, or if the playoffs are in store for us, there may be a chance for a 2nd nationally televised game because this year there is only one.
That Week 3, 4 day rest game at Atlanta is a Thursday night game on NFL Network. The opening two games are scheduled for 4:25 and 4:00 pm respectively. After that, its all 1PM for the Bucs, as they are not impressing anyone at NFL headquarters or ESPN. Of course there is a chance a game with playoff implications could arise in the last few weeks which are FLEX scheduling weeks, and the Bucs do have home games against the Packers and Saints that could prove interesting to a national Sunday Night Audience.
Of note, the 3rd preseason game at Buffalo is now an NFL Network national game, and it will start Saturday at 4:30 pm. The CBS games this year are Home vs Baltimore and Cincinnati.
The biggest game that sticks out of course is the return trip to Chicago for former Bears coach Lovie Smith and former Bears QB Josh McCown. Should he be starting, it may be one of the first times a Coach and QB returned to play their old team, although McCown did not start when Smith was coaching the Bears.
Looking for more revenge games? The schedule brings them around every 3 years for NFC and 4 for AFC. Here is the list of Revenge games.
@Pittsburgh- A scheduled rematch after the Bucs lost to the Steelers in 2010 when Big Ben was out with a suspension but hit Mike Wallace over rookie Cody Grimm for the TD. Lost 38-13.
Baltimore- Remember Sabby Piscatelli giving up that sloppy TD pass to Tight End because he was out of position? It cost him his job, and Bucs lost 17-10 at Baltimore.
@ Chicago- This is the scheduled rematch for the Bucs trip to Wembley to play a Home game vs the Bears. Chicago arrived just in time for the game while the Bucs made a weeks Vaca out of it. Chicago sent us home with the first game of a 10 game losing streak that cost Raheem Morris and entire coaching staff their jobs.
@ Detroit- This is the actual scheduled rematch for the 2011 home opener when the new look Lions beat us, even though our offense opened up too late in the 2nd half. While the Bucs played the Lions last year, that was one of the random scheduling vacancies that happen each year, where two games are undecided until the season ends based on where your team finishes in relationship to their team. This year the Bucs earned the 3rd place Redskins from the east on the road and 3rd place Rams from the West at home.