FAB 3. Bucs’ 2019 Foes Present A Challenge
An early look at Tampa Bay’s 2019 schedule shows that the team will playing the NFC West as well as the AFC South next year, and we now know that one of the Bucs’ home games next year will be played aboard – either in London or in Mexico City. Tampa Bay is one of five teams – the others are Oakland, Jacksonville, the Los Angeles Rams and the Los Angeles Chargers – that will be playing a home game in a foreign country.
Four games will be played in London and one will be played in Mexico City. The guess here is that the Bucs will be returning to London where they have played twice, losing to New England, 35-7, in 2009, and to Chicago, 24-18, in 2011.
The Big Takeaway
Despite playing in the rugged NFC South, the Bucs’ 2019 schedule presents some opportunity for the team to bounce back next year if Tampa Bay fares well at home. The reason why the Bucs will have to win a lot of home games is because their road schedule appears to be absolutely brutal.
2019 Home Opponents
New Orleans (11-2)
San Francisco (3-10)
2019 Away Opponents
New Orleans (11-2)
Los Angeles Rams (11-2)
The NFC East opponent will either be Philadelphia (6-7), Washington (6-7) or the New York Giants (5-8) depending on where the those teams finish in their division and where the Bucs finish in the NFC South, which will likely be third or fourth. But Tampa Bay’s NFC East opponent will probably not be division-leading Dallas (8-5). The Bucs beat the Eagles at Raymond James Stadium in Week 2, but lost a home game to the Redskins and an away game to the Giants. Tampa Bay plays at Dallas next week.
The NFC North opponent the Bucs will play on the road will either be Minnesota (6-6-1), Green Bay (5-7-1) or Detroit (5-8) depending on where the those teams finish in their division and where the Bucs finish. It won’t be Chicago, which is 9-4 and leading the division. The Bucs traveled to Chicago this year and got destroyed, 48-10.
Chances are, five of the eight opponents the Bucs will play at home (or in London) will likely finish with losing records. So there could be an opportunity to pad the win column if Tampa Bay can take care of business at home.
The opposite holds true for the road games where Tampa Bay will have to travel to face three playoff teams in New Orleans, Los Angeles and Seattle, in addition to Tennessee, which is a tough place to play and a possible playoff team. Winning at Atlanta and Carolina isn’t easy, either.
The FABulous Ending
Going 4-4 on the road might be the absolute best-case scenario next year given the team’s challenging road slate, so the Bucs will need to go 6-2 at home or 5-3 at the very least to have a chance of posting a winning record. And keep in mind that one of those home games will be away from Raymond James Stadium next year, too.