Friday, December 15, 2017
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Looking ahead at Bucs' 2016 opponents

Just as being eliminated from playoff contention has the Bucs looking ahead, it's a good time to do the same, taking an early look at the Bucs' 2016 opponents, which has all but two games determined.

NFL teams rotate through one NFC and one AFC division each season, and the Bucs should have a tougher schedule in both cases. Tampa Bay has been fortunate to face the NFL's two weakest divisions this year in the NFC East and AFC South — those divisions are 14-24 and 12-26, respectively, against teams outside their division, the worst marks in the NFL this year.

In 2016, they'll face the NFC West and AFC West, who have had considerably more success this year — the NFC West is 22-16 out of division this season, while the AFC West is 20-18.

That covers 14 of the Bucs' 16 games — six NFC South games as usual, plus trips to Arizona, San Diego (or its new home), San Francisco and Kansas City; and home games against Denver, Oakland, St. Louis and Seattle.

While the power can shift from division to division in a single year — remember how weak the NFC South was a year ago — what won't change is the logistical challenge of going out west three times in a single season. The Bucs haven't had to do that since 2004, when they went 0-3 in losses at Oakland, San Diego and Arizona.

The Bucs have had decent success on the West Coast in recent years — they're 4-2 since 2009, with wins at Oakland (2012), Arizona (2010), San Francisco (2010) and Seattle (2009).

The final two games on the Bucs' schedule remain to be determined — they'll travel to face the NFC East team that finishes in the same spot in the standings as the Bucs do, and they'll play host to their counterpart from the NFC North. With two weeks to go, that could be any of the four teams in either division — the Bucs are a game back of second and a game ahead of fourth place in their own division, and the other standings are similarly close.

Comments
Bucs’ Lavonte David misses practice with hamstring injury

Bucs’ Lavonte David misses practice with hamstring injury

TAMPA — The Bucs knew they might be playing without DT Gerald McCoy, who suffered a biceps injury early in Sunday’s loss to the Lions. But now they face the prospect of playing Monday against Atlanta without another of their defensive leaders, as LB ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

USF’s Nigel Harris eager for chance with hometown Bucs

When Nigel Harris chose where to play college football, he wanted to stay home in Tampa at USF. And now, after playing for the Chargers and Giants as an NFL rookie, he's grateful for the chance to again prove himself in Tampa as the newest member of ...
Updated: 12 hours ago
NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

NFL Week 15: Tampa Bay Times staff picks

Week 15 starts and ends with disappointment — a Thursday night meeting of two of the more disappointing teams (Denver at Indianapolis) and a Monday night game that once had held high hopes locally (Atlanta at Tampa Bay). Once.Here's our picks f...
Published: 12/14/17
Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

Measuring Jameis Winston’s progress, and Dirk Koetter’s job security

TAMPA — It is one of the most honest moments of the season, captured in the first Hard Knocks episode. Jameis Winston is having a frank conversation with coach Dirk Koetter, seated behind his desk in his office at One Buc Place."I just want to have a...
Published: 12/14/17
Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

Jones: If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?

What would you do?If you were Jon Gruden, what would you do?Well, you could go to Hooter’s and order a pitcher of beer and dozen wings. Then, Monday, you could go be inducted into the Bucs’ Ring of Honor.I’m talking about after that.Would you stay i...
Published: 12/14/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Dirk Koetter, Evan Longoria, Stanley Cup and more

Rick and Tom podcast: Dirk Koetter, Evan Longoria, Stanley Cup and more

Rick Stroud and Tom Jones answer a lightning round of questions.
Published: 12/14/17
Bucs’ Mike Evans gives the gift of perspective

Bucs’ Mike Evans gives the gift of perspective

TAMPA — So, this is Christmas.The Bucs are having an awful season. There is no way around it. Star receiver Mike Evans isn’t having a great year, either, not nearly as many catches or touchdowns as last season, when he was selected for the Pro Bowl.S...
Published: 12/13/17
Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp on sexual harassment allegations: ‘Ain’t no #MeToo’

Warren Sapp vehemently denied allegations that he sexually harassed a female employee when he worked at the NFL Network during a radio appearance this afternoon in Miami."Ain’t no #MeToo," the former Buc and Pro Football Hall of Famer said on the And...
Published: 12/13/17
Cannon Fodder podcast: Gerald McCoy still wants to play

Cannon Fodder podcast: Gerald McCoy still wants to play

Greg Auman has an update in his latest podcast while the Bucs have two days off during the long week.
Published: 12/13/17
Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

Rick and Tom podcast: Should the Rays go full fire-sale mode?

As baseball’s hot stove starts heating up, should the Rays go full fire sale to build for the future?In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones discuss whether the Rays should trade guys like Evan Longoria, Chris Archer, Alex Colome and more,...
Published: 12/13/17