The NFL released the official list of dates for opponents for 2019 schedule on a Wednesday night. And so, we have decided to take a “tongue and cheek look” at all of the state pro teams schedules and give you the assessment from the point of view of the fan, who thinks his team has been slighted.
So in this case, here we go with the release of the Buccaneers schedule:
First, even the biggest Buccaneer fan would have to concede the schedule maker is doing the Bucs of favor by having them at home for the first time in five Seasons to begin the Bruce Arians era. Tampa Bay will play against the San Francisco 49ers a team that Arians has beaten a bunch in the past.
But there’s not much else positive especially early on with the schedule.
Tampa Bay will play at Carolina just four nights later for Thursday Night Football in a place where the Panthers have had tremendous success against the Buccaneers including in Prime time games.
Then, after getting a game with the Giants at home the Buccaneers will embark on an odyssey, and that’s what it is-an odyssey, of games all over the continent and the globe over the course of the next seven weeks. I
n that time none of the games will be played at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
From the September 22nd home game against the Giants and until Arians goes against his former team the Cardinals on November 10th, the Buccaneers basically leave Raymond James Stadium for two months.
Buccaneers will not play in Tampa from 9/22 until 11/10, a stretch that includes five consecutive road games (two west-coast trips and a London game).
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) April 18, 2019
And these are not just short commutes. Week four at the LA Rams, the following game against the perennial best team in the South, the Saints, then week 7 in London, England, to rematch Carolina. Next, a bye week on the road at Nashville in a shorter travel situation.
However, the “journey” continues the following week all the way to the Pacific Northwest to play Russell Wilson and the Seahawks in a week nine battle on November 3rd!
Granted, the Buccaneers will play five of their final eight games in Tampa, but will they still have any legs left for that stretch run after all of those tough opponents and the travel?
And it’s also weird for the Bucs that starting December 1st, they have five games in the month but only one of them, the last one against Atlanta December 29th, at home. And, that’s also the only NFC South game to close out, to try to make up ground potentially in a wildcard battle, and (don’t laugh) a possible division chase.
Three of the December games are against the AFC South, including having Andrew Luck and the Colts in on December 8th and J.J. Watt and the Houston Texans in town for the weekend of December 21 – 22. In both of those cases, those teams are likely playoff contenders in must-win mode in the other conference.
With plenty of ammunition above, you can see where a Buccaneer fan (wink, nod) thinks the schedule maker hates his team.
Bucs add LB White to crowded injury report Saturday
Even though the Bucs are favored to win in Detroit on Sunday, their injuries and the possible effect it will have on them in Sunday’s game are mounting up.
First, as we wrote Friday, the most prominent Buccaneer on the injury report, quarterback Jameis Winston, is expected to play with a slightly cracked bone in his throwing thumb. Tampa Bay head coach Bruce Arians told the media after Friday’s practice that Winston was able to throw in the practice and should be good to go.
Now, comes word on Saturday the Bucs star defensive rookie, Devin White, is added to the injury report with an unknown illness. The team officially listed him as questionable before traveling to Detroit.
White, who was the fifth overall pick in last year’s draft has been coming on the second half of the season putting together a 10 tackle, two sack game against Matt Ryan and the Falcons. And, a week later in the game against the Jaguars, he had an interception of Nick Foles and a fumble return for a touchdown both in the first quarter of Tampa Bay’s easy win.
If he cannot go, it is expected that veteran Kevin Minter will slide into White’s role alongside Pro Bowl veteran Lavonte David. Minter played for several games earlier this year, when White was out with a sprained knee ligament.
The Buccaneers will already also be without wide receiver Mike Evans, who suffered a hamstring injury on his 61-yard touchdown catch last week against the Colts. It is likely that Evans will be done for the season with the injury, but Tampa Bay did not place him on IR, yet, this week.
That means the Tampa Bay’s other top target, WR Chris Godwin, will be more heavily counted on against the Lions. Godwin is having a fantastic third season, where he has been in the top five all year long in receptions and yardage.
The Bucs have another serious concern with the status of left tackle Donovan Smith. He was injured in the second half of the Colts win Sunday, and has not practiced all week with what’s listed as a knee/ankle injury. Smith, who’s never missed a game since coming into the NFL in 2015 is listed as doubtful. If Smith cannot go, the Buccaneers will likely turn to veteran Josh Wells, who has played sparingly at both tackle spots this season.
Bucs QB Winston threw Friday- will play Sunday
After a week of debate, as to whether or not Buccaneers starting quarterback Jameis Winston would be able to play Sunday at Detroit, head coach Bruce Arians made it clear: he’s in.
— PewterReport (@PewterReport) December 13, 2019
“He’s fine. He’s ready to go,” Arians said in announcing that his QB will start against the lowly Lions.
Winston hurt the hand late in the second quarter of Sunday’s wild 38 – 35 comeback win over the Colts. When he came out for the second half, Winston had trouble gripping the ball and actually went in for an x-ray, while back up Ryan Griffin quarterbacked the team for a series.
Winston returned and went on the lead the Bucs to 17 points, including throwing the game-winning touchdown pass to Breshad Perriman in the final five minutes of the game, as Tampa Bay won for the third time in a row.
As we wrote on Thursday, Winston was seen throwing a tennis ball during the portion of practice open to media. This as part of simulating his throwing motion on reps with the receivers. It wasn’t known if Winston tried to throw at all Thursday in the closed portion of the practice.
Winston has been a lightning rod of both praise and criticism, as he currently leads the NFL with 23 interceptions, including three more Sunday. However, he is also second in the NFL in touchdown passes (26) and total passing yards going into play in week 15.
If Winston is bothered by the injured hand, then Griffin will be counted on to take over. He’s in his seventh season, but last week was his first regular season action of his career in Tampa Bay. Griffin has played well in each of the last two preseasons for the Buccaneers.
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