Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule and predictions takeaways:
- The Buccaneers face the Dallas Cowboys to kick off Week 1 of the NFL season.
- Their Week 9 bye is set between road games against the Washington Football Team and New Orleans Saints (Oct. 31 and Nov. 14).
- Sportsnaut predicts the Bucs will end the season as the NFC’s No. 1 seed with an exceptional 16-1 record.
Is it conceivable that TB12 and Tampa Bay could pull off a perfect season? The star power, continuity and depth are all there to make it possible. It was impressive to see how the Bucs pulled together in Brady’s maiden year. They still have room to improve, which is a scary thought for the rest of the league.
Without further ado, let’s get to game-by-game 2021 predictions for the Buccaneers’ schedule.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers schedule predictions, roster outlook
Let’s take a look at the team’s complete 2021 schedule and make predictions for each game.
Buccaneers roster outlook
All our predictions are based on the Buccaneers keeping and starting these key players:
- QB – Tom Brady
- RB – Leonard Fournette, Ronald Jones II
- WR – Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, Jaelon Darden (rookie)
- TE – Rob Gronkowski, Cameron Brate, O.J. Howard
- Defense – Buccaneers ranked No. 2 this week
Rookie receiver Jaelon Darden is a pure slot player who brings a different skill set to the gridiron than deep threat Scotty Miller and rising second-year pro Tyler Johnson. Because Tampa Bay traded up to acquire Darden in the fourth round, there could be some big plans for him in 2021 despite his relatively modest draft status.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2021 preseason schedule
|Saturday, Aug. 14||vs. Cincinnati Bengals||7:30 PM||WFLA|
|Saturday, Aug. 21||vs. Tennessee Titans||7:30 PM||WFLA|
|Saturday, Aug. 28||@ Houston Texans||8:00 PM||WFLA|
This season the NFL is lowering the amount of preseason games to three per team, and instead expanding the regular season to 17 games, rather than the traditional 16 games.
Week 1 – vs. Dallas Cowboys (TNF season opener)
|Thursday, Sept. 9||8:20 PM||NBC|
- Spread: Buccaneers -6.5 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Cowboys +240; Buccaneers -305
- Over/Under: 52
With Dak Prescott returning and Kellen Moore dialing up the plays, Dallas is going to be lethal once again on offense. That defense, though? Not going to be up to snuff, despite heavy draft capital invested therein. Brady is going to torch the Cowboys through the air.
- Week 1 prediction: Buccaneers 48, Cowboys 38
Week 2 – vs. Atlanta Falcons
|Sunday, Sept. 19||4:05 PM||FOX|
This Falcons defense isn’t going to travel well to Tampa Bay. Just too many holes, and the Bucs are too talented of a pass-catching group to not absolutely stick it to their NFC South rivals at Raymond James Stadium.
- Week 2 prediction: Buccaneers 52, Falcons 37
Week 3 – @ Los Angeles Rams
|Sunday, Sept. 26||4:25 PM||FOX|
Although Los Angeles took some losses in the secondary this offseason, they got a huge upgrade at QB with Matthew Stafford. The Rams seem like the one team with enough talent in all phases to go toe-to-toe with Tampa Bay. Given home-field advantage in Los Angeles, this is epic shootout waiting to happen that the Rams just may get the better of.
- Week 3 prediction: Rams 34, Buccaneers 31
Week 4 – @ New England Patriots (SNF)
|Sunday, Oct. 3||8:20 PM||NBC|
Oh boy. The showdown everyone’s been waiting for since Brady left Foxborough. You can bet the Bucs will be up for this game, and given the immense advantage they have at the most important position on the field, look for Tampa Bay to make a massive statement to Bill Belichick and New England.
- Week 4 prediction: Buccaneers 27, Patriots 6
Week 5 – vs. Miami Dolphins
|Sunday, Oct. 10||1:00 PM||CBS|
Tua Tagovailoa faces the most pressure of any QB in the AFC East, and that’s saying something. Based on his uneven rookie year, he doesn’t seem up to the task. Unless he proves that notion wrong, the Bucs should have little trouble cruising in this Sunshine State duel.
- Week 5 prediction: Buccaneers 33, Dolphins 14
Week 6 – @ Philadelphia Eagles (TNF)
|Thursday, Oct. 14||8:20 PM||FOX, NFLN|
The Eagles brought in an impressive draft class, and their offensive line will be a lot healthier after being dismantled by injury in 2020. All that still won’t be enough to hang with Tampa Bay, though. Brady should have a field day against Philadelphia’s secondary.
- Week 6 prediction: Buccaneers 33, Eagles 13
Week 7 – vs. Chicago Bears
|Sunday, Oct. 24||4:25 PM||CBS|
Chicago’s quarterback situation isn’t resolved as of now, so it’s hard to endorse the Bears to knock off the defending champs. They did so in 2020, but that was on a Thursday night, and the Bucs were sorting through chemistry issues. It’d be a different story this time around — unless Justin Fields is an instant star as a rookie.
- Week 7 prediction: Buccaneers 20, Bears 10
Week 8 – @ New Orleans Saints
|Sunday, Oct. 31||4:25 PM||FOX|
Having Brady under center is an even bigger edge for the Bucs than it used to be against New Orleans now that Drew Brees is retired. Former Tampa Bay No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston will likely get the starting nod for the Saints, and his penchant for interceptions won’t play well versus the Bucs, even at home.
- Week 8 prediction: Buccaneers 34, Saints 17
WEEK 9 BYE
Week 10 – @ Washington Football Team
|Sunday, Nov. 14||1:00 PM||FOX|
Ryan Fitzpatrick is always a fun story until he flames out. While he’s better situated to succeed in Washington than just about any other starting opportunity he’s had, Tampa Bay’s defense is going to force him into multiple mistakes, offsetting the Football Team’s gallant defensive efforts against Brady and Co., led by Chase Young.
- Week 10 prediction: Buccaneers 24, Washington 9
Week 11 – vs. New York Giants (MNF)
|Monday, Nov. 22||8:15 PM||ESPN|
A turnover-prone New York quarterback in Daniel Jones facing a Tampa Bay defense that returns every starter from 2020, when it ranked in the top five in takeaways. What could possibly go wrong for the Giants here? Just about everything.
- Week 11 prediction: Buccaneers 30, Giants 17
Week 12 – @ Indianapolis Colts
|Sunday, Nov. 28||1:00 PM||FOX|
Carson Wentz reuniting with Frank Reich doesn’t mean his career will automatically get back on track. Wentz is liable to be exposed against quality opponents. It should be no different when he faces the Buccaneers’ loaded defense.
- Week 12 prediction: Buccaneers 38, Colts 20
Week 13 – @ Atlanta Falcons
|Sunday, Dec. 5||1:00 PM||FOX|
Adding Kyle Pitts to the equation on offense gives the Falcons tons of firepower on that side of the ball. The problem is, their defense is still largely in disarray, and their home dome actually works in favor of the Bucs’ potent aerial attack.
- Week 13 prediction: Buccaneers 42, Falcons 24
Week 14 – vs. Buffalo Bills
|Sunday, Dec. 12||4:25 PM||CBS|
Another potential pitfall in the Bucs’ pursuit of the best record in football. Josh Allen is a handful even for Tampa Bay’s loaded defense. However, if it comes down to the final minutes, who better to deliver the goods than the GOAT QB himself?
- Week 14 prediction: Buccaneers 31, Bills 30
Week 15 – vs. New Orleans Saints (SNF)
|Sunday, Dec. 19||8:20 PM||NBC|
This could be a situation where Jameis Winston is so fired up to return to Tampa Bay as the starter, and the Saints rally around him. The only issue is, Winston will inevitably make a boneheaded decision that costs New Orleans the game.
- Week 15 prediction: Buccaneers 26, Saints 23
Week 16 – @ Carolina Panthers
|Sunday, Dec. 26||1:00 PM||FOX|
Until Sam Darnold proves he can be the man for the Panthers, they’re going to be hard-pressed to compete with a championship contender like Tampa Bay. Darnold is notoriously mistake-prone, and will struggle against a defensive coordinator in Todd Bowles who knows all his tendencies. Bowles was the QB’s initial New York Jets head coach.
- Week 16 prediction: Buccaneers 38, Panthers 23
Week 17 – @ New York Jets
|Sunday, Jan. 2||1:00 PM||FOX|
Zach Wilson is going to make some plays for the underdogs. He should have a decent running game to support him and solid weapons in the receiving corps. New coach Robert Saleh can only do so much for a shorthanded defense, though, which will cause the Jets to lose this one.
- Week 17 prediction: Buccaneers 35, Jets 22
Week 18 – vs. Carolina Panthers
|Sunday, Jan. 9||1:00 PM||FOX|
Drafting Jaycee Horn in the top 10 was a bold move that could well pay off for Carolina down the road. However, the South Carolina cornerback isn’t ready to straight-up guard the likes of Mike Evans or Chris Godwin on an island. That’ll spell a long day for the Panthers in Tampa.
- Week 18 prediction: Buccaneers 41, Panthers 14