TAMPA-The 2021 National Football League season will be one like no other, literally, as the league will embark on its first campaign in which each team will play a total of 17 regular season games.
That means the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers could become the first team to win a Super Bowl in a 17-game schedule format, but the road to Los Angeles will not be easy. The Buccaneers kickoff the season in style, at home versus the Dallas Cowboys, who will welcome back starting quarterback Dak Prescott.
It’s absolutely no easy stretch following the opening day game, as the Buccaneers host the Atlanta Falcons at home and then go on the road to face the Los Angeles Rams and then the very highly anticipated matchup when Tom Brady returns to New England to face his old team, the Patriots. No other game may stack up to the Buccaneers-Patriots.
Following possibly the biggest game of the year, the Buccaneers will play the Miami Dolphins and see second-year quarterback Tua Tagovialoa. Then Tampa Bay will face off against the new-look Philadelphia Eagles with Jalen Hurts at the helm full-time. Tough games versus the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears follow.
The final four games of the season seem to be very favorable for Tampa Bay, as they’ll face the Carolina Panthers twice, who are leaning towards Sam Darnold being their starting quarterback. Also matchups against Jameis Winston’s Saints and the rebuilding New York Jets both seem like very winnable games.
With the franchise returning all 22 starters from last season’s championship team, some people are predicting a 17-0 campaign. An incredible feat if the Buccaneers can pull it off, but Tampa Bay’s schedule is no slouch. There’s plenty of competition along the way, including the Patriots, Bills, Rams and a host of others. The schedule isn’t the toughest one amongst all NFL teams, so Tampa Bay should take advantage if they look to repeat as champions.
Andy Villamarzo can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @avillamarzo.