table of contents
- Barron Is An Instant Upgrade At Strong Safety
- These 5 Bucs Need A Big Year In 2012 For A Big Contract In 2013
- Martin's Future In Tampa Bay Is Clear, Blount's Is Not
- Point-Counterpoint: Can The Bucs Win 8 Games In 2012?
- Top 10 Most Interesting Games On Tampa Bay’s Schedule
- Pewter Prospect: OT Ricky Wagner
- Pewter Prospect: DT Kaawan Short
- SR's Fab 5 - 9/6
- Interesting Observations From Bucs Preseason
- Pewter Predictions: Bucs Improve In 2012, Finish With 7-9 Record
- Pewter Predictions: 2012 Bucs Individual Awards
- Top 10 Most Valuable Bucs In 2012
WEEK 1 – BUCCANEERS vs. PANTHERS
September 9 at 4:25 p.m. Fox
Having to face multi-talented QB Cam Newton and the Panthers’ deadly rushing attack, the Buccaneers certainly didn’t draw an easy season opener. The upset Panthers swept the Bucs last year, winning 38-19 in Tampa Bay and 48-16 at Carolina. The young Bucs with new offensive and defensive systems aren’t ready to keep up with or stop such an explosive, high-powered offense. The Bucs fall in a frustrating season opener at home, and Greg Schiano joins Raheem Morris, Jon Gruden and Tony Dungy to become the fourth Tampa Bay head coach to lose his debut game.
WEEK 2 – BUCCANEERS at NY GIANTS
September 16 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
Tampa Bay’s offensive line will have its hands full against New York’s fearsome foursome upfront. Quarterback Josh Freeman will have to outduel Eli Manning in order for the Bucs to have a chance in this one, but Freeman isn’t ready for that kind of performance yet. The defending Super Bowl champions act like it and beat the visiting Bucs handily in Tampa Bay’s first road game of the season.
WEEK 3 – BUCCANEERS at COWBOYS
September 23 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
The start to the 2012 season doesn’t get any easier for Tampa Bay, which has to travel to Dallas with a 0-2 record. The Cowboys manhandled the Bucs last year at Raymond James Stadium on national television, winning 31-15. Tampa Bay’s youth and inexperience shows at several positions, but primarily along the defensive line as Tony Romo has plenty of time to pick a part the Bucs defense. Schiano’s inauspicious 0-3 start begins to resemble that of Dungy and Morris’ and the chance for a winning season begins to slip away.
WEEK 4 – BUCCANEERS vs. REDSKINS
September 30 at 4:25 p.m. Fox
Tampa Bay desperately needs a win before the bye week and facing a rookie quarterback in Robert Griffin III does the trick. While talented, Griffin is forced into some mistakes by a young and improving Bucs defense. Tampa Bay’s pass rush gets revved up on the defensive side of the ball and the running game gets cranking on the offensive side of the ball. Schiano’s Bucs play their most complete game to date and get some much-needed confidence heading into the bye week.
WEEK 5 – Bye Week
WEEK 6 – BUCCANEERS vs. CHIEFS
October 14 at 1:00 p.m. CBS
An improved Kansas City team comes to town and gives Tampa Bay a stiff test, but the Bucs are able to fully take advantage of the bye week and do some effective game-planning against the Chiefs. This one is a shootout with Freeman turning in an effective performance and Connor Barth winning the contest with a late-game field goal. Two wins in a row gives the Bucs some confidence as the team’s record improves to 2-3.
WEEK 7 – BUCCANEERS vs. SAINTS
October 21 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
New Orleans has always presented a real challenge for Tampa Bay’s defense. The Bucs beat the Saints at home last year, 26-20, thanks to forcing several turnovers. But Tampa Bay lost at New Orleans in 2011, 27-16, because the defense couldn’t turn in a repeat performance with the takeaways. The Bucs are using a dime defense this year to attack big-time passing quarterbacks like Drew Brees, but in the end he and the Saints prevail.
WEEK 8 – BUCCANEERS at VIKINGS
October 25 at 8:20 p.m. NFL Network
The Buccaneers make the most of their only showing on national television in 2012 by upsetting the Vikings on the road. Tampa Bay won at Minnesota last year in Week 2, 24-20, and should win a similar, tight game again this year. The improving Bucs run defense will be tested by Adrian Peterson, but the real key will be keeping defensive end Jared Allen off Freeman’s back. Left tackle Donald Penn is up to the task and the Bucs improve to 3-4 on the season.
WEEK 9 – BUCCANEERS at RAIDERS
November 4 at 4:05 p.m. Fox
The Raiders finished 8-8 last year, and just missed the playoffs after a 7-4 start. Oakland lost four of their last five games as their season fell apart. Carson Palmer and the Raiders have the Bucs game circled as a win on their schedule, and Tampa Bay’s history of not faring well on the West Coast comes back to haunt the pewter pirates in a tough road loss at the Black Hole. The Bucs’ record falls to 3-5.
WEEK 10 – BUCCANEERS vs. CHARGERS
November 11 at 1:00 p.m. CBS
A midseason collapse last year when the Chargers lost six straight games negated a 4-1 start. San Diego finished strong, winning four of its last five games to wind up with an 8-8 record, while averaging 36 points per game in those victories. Of course Vincent Jackson is in Tampa Bay this year, and not San Diego, which makes a world of difference as he gets some revenge against his former team in an upset victory for the Buccaneers.
WEEK 11 – BUCCANEERS at PANTHERS
November 18 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
The Bucs don’t have an answer for Newton and the Panthers once again as Carolina manages to sweep Tampa Bay for the second time in a row. The Bucs’ lack of depth along the defensive and offensive line gets exposed late in the season as the Panthers are gearing up for a playoff run, while the 4-6 Bucs appear heading for another losing season after getting pummeled on the road.
WEEK 12 – BUCCANEERS vs. FALCONS
November 25 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
Schiano gets his first crack at the Falcons as a head coach and although Atlanta is a formidable foe and in contention for the NFC South title, Tampa Bay pulls an upset at home as the defense shuts down Michael Turner and Aqib Talib handles Julio Jones. The Bucs weren’t competitive in most of their games last year, evidenced by a 4-12 record and the wide margins of defeat, especially late in the season. But Tampa Bay is playing tougher, closer games this year and has a 5-6 record to show for it.
WEEK 13 – BUCCANEERS at BRONCOS
December 2 at 4:05 p.m. Fox
With a chance to get to .500 and keep the season interesting, the Bucs fall victim to the Denver weather, Peyton Manning and the Broncos tough defense, which stops the run and gets after Freeman. The Bucs lose, but don’t get blown out in this Rocky Mountain battle, which drops the team’s record to 5-7.
WEEK 14 – BUCCANEERS vs. EAGLES
December 9 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
Inspired by the homecoming gathering of the 2002 Super Bowl team in Tampa Bay for this game, the Bucs play the Eagles as tough as they did in the 2002 NFC Championship Game. And just for old times sake, Ronde Barber returns an interception for a touchdown to finish off Philadelphia just as he did a decade ago.
WEEK 15 – BUCCANEERS at SAINTS
December 16 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
The 6-7 Buccaneers once again have the chance to pull even at .500 with a victory, but the Saints prevail at home for the season sweep. With the playoffs on the line, the Saints’ experience shows when the game is on the line. Tampa Bay’s 2012 record now stands at 6-8 and a winning season for Schiano in his first year as head coach is denied.
WEEK 16 – BUCCANEERS vs. RAMS
December 23 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
The Bucs finish up their 2012 home schedule with a 6-2 record with a triumph over the rebuilding Rams. Despite missing the playoffs or a chance for a winning season, Tampa Bay posts its best home record in years and that should help boost attendance in 2013. Best of all, the Bucs win in a blowout as the offense and defense come together to play a fantastic game that gets the fans excited for bigger and better things next year.
WEEK 17 – BUCCANEERS at FALCONS
December 30 at 1:00 p.m. Fox
Although finishing with an 8-8 record is the new goal, following a big win over St. Louis, Tampa Bay comes up short in the Georgia Dome against a playoff-bound Atlanta team. The Bucs end Schiano’s first year with a 7-9 record, which represents a three-game improvement over the 2011 squad. Although Tampa Bay didn’t have a string of wins to end the season on a higher note, the goal in 2012 was to play much more competitive games and that resulted in Tampa Bay not losing consecutive games after the bye week, and that’s something the 2013 Buccaneers can build on.