The NFL gave the Bucs a fair shake with the schedule they released today for the 2011 season:
Sunday Sept. 11th vs. Detroit 1:00 PM
Sunday Sept. 18th @ Minnesota 1:00 PM
Sunday Sept. 25th vs. Atlanta 4:15 PM
Monday, Oct. 3rd vs. Indianapolis 8:30 PM
Sunday Oct. 9th @ San Francisco 4:05 PM
Sunday Oct. 16th vs. New Orleans 4:15 PM
Sunday Oct. 23rd vs. Chicago (London, England) 1:00 PM
Sunday Nov. 6th @ New Orleans 1:00 PM
Sunday Nov. 13th vs. Houston 1:00 PM
Sunday Nov. 20th @ Green Bay 1:00 PM
Sunday Nov. 27th @ Tennessee 1:00 PM
Sunday Dec. 04 vs. Carolina 1:00 PM
Sunday Dec. 11th at Jacksonville 1:00 PM
Saturday Dec. 17th vs. Dallas 8:20 PM
Saturday Dec. 24th at Carolina 1:00 PM
Sunday Jan. 1st at Atlanta 1:00 PM
As hard as it is to go to London, I think the preference when it comes to sequence is to have your toughest opponents at the end of the year. That is when you should be peaking and – if you assembled your roster correctly – able to handle injuries. I guarantee you Bill Belichick would prefer his schedule like that. If you can’t get that, what you would like is not too many road games in a row and not too many hard opponents in a row.
The Bucs constantly get relief after a tough game in the form of one of the AFC South softies. The Titans are clearly rebuilding with their rookie coach as well as potentially a rookie QB. They are the probably the worst team on Tampa Bay’s schedule and they host Tampa Bay one week after the World Champs do.
They get Gary Kubiak’s Texans one week after the Saints and Jack Del Rio’s Jaguars – the third straight opponent who missed the playoffs – the week before their Saturday game hosting the Cowboys. Jack Del Rio and Gary Kubiak have combined for 13 seasons coaching and 1 controversial playoff win.