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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Buccaneers have difficult start in their 2018 schedule

Florida Football Insiders

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Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Buccaneers knew they had some challenging games on their upcoming 2018 schedule, and they will be tested right away, now that the dates of opponents are known. Tampa Bay will play three division champs (one Superbowl winner) and also on Monday Night Football before it’s even October.

The Bucs announced their schedule Thursday night:

The Bucs will open at the defending NFC South champion Saints in week one. Then will welcome Superbowl winning Philadelphia in their home opener on September 16th. And, the gauntlet of tough games concludes, when they battle the Steelers at Raymond James Stadium on Monday Night Football in week three.

It’s the second straight year, Tampa Bay has hosted a Monday night game. They were beaten by division rival Atlanta on Monday Night last December.

There is a further concern that starting QB Jameis Winston may be suspended by the NFL at the beginning of the of the season by the NFL for violation of the league’s conduct policy. This stems from an accusation from an Arizona Uber driver that Winston inappropriately touched her in March of 2016.

Continuing with the schedule. The Bucs have a tough stretch from week four on, where they play four out of five games on the on the road and also have the bye sandwiched in there. That means they only play one home game on October 21st against Cleveland in that stretch.

We had previously written about whether newly acquired defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul had tipped that the Buccaneers would close the season at his old team, the Giants. That turns out to not be correct, as the Buccaneers will visit the Big Apple in week 11.

The schedule makers with the NFL came up with a strange NFC South schedule for the Bucs, which has them playing all three division foes on the road before any of them at home. And, most curiously (and we’re sure they aren’t happy about it) Tampa Bay doesn’t play a home game against the Falcons, Saints or Panthers until December. In fact, all of their home games in December are against the South with the Falcons on December 30th being the regular season finale’.

Clearly, if the Bucs have a shot to win the division entering the final month, they will have a distinct advantage playing only home games to try to clinch it.

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