Insider: Breaking Down the Bucs’ 2012 Schedule

As Greg Schiano continues to push his players through minicamp, fans and talking heads took a look towards the fall this week, as the 2012 NFL schedule was released on Tuesday.  The Bucs’ schedule had some noteworthy high (and low) points:

  • The Bucs start the season at home on September 9 against Carolina.  This is the fourth straight season the Bucs have opened at home, with their last opener on the road coming in 2008 vs New Orleans, a 24-20 loss.
  • Four of the first six games are at Raymond James Stadium. 
  • During that stretch, the Bucs face four teams who ranked in the bottom half of the league in average yards per carry allowed in 2011 (CAR, NYG, WAS, NO).  Could be a good time for the Bucs’ new and improved offensive line to show its mettle.
  • Unsurprisingly, the Bucs have eleven 1 pm  and four 4 pm ET starts.
  • The Bucs’ sole primetime game is Thurs. Oct 25 at Minnesota.  Last year in Week 2, Adrian Peterson torched the Bucs’ defense for 120 yards rushing, with the vast majority coming in the first half.  The run defense stiffened in the second half on the way to a thrilling 24-20, come from behind win.
  • Fortunately for the Bucs, their only trip to the west coast this season comes the following week against Oakland, giving them three extra days to rest and prepare.  They last played in Oakland in Week 4 of the 2004 season, a 30-20 loss.  They are 0-5 all-time against the Raiders in Oakland/L.A.  The last matchup came in 2008, when Oakland ended the Bucs’ season with a 31-24 win at Raymond James Stadium in Week 17.  
  • The following week, the Bucs host Philip Rivers and the Chargers, then go on a stretch of alternating road/home games for the remainder of the season.  They play back-to-back road games twice this season, in Weeks 2-3 at New York/Dallas, and in Weeks 8-9 at Minnesota/Oakland.
  • The Bucs have not beaten the Cowboys or Giants since 2003, when they beat them both (16-0 vs. DAL, 19-13 vs. NYG).
  • Bruce Allen, Raheem Morris, and newly-signed Redskins Tanard Jackson and James Lee will get a crack at their old team on September 30, when Washington comes to Raymond James Stadium.
  • The threat of playing in brutally cold weather appears to be somewhat limited, with the only outdoor road game in December coming Dec. 2 at Denver (which could be frigid).  The other road games that month are in domes against New Orleans and Atlanta.
  • The Bucs catch only one team coming off its bye week – the Saints, who they meet in Week 7 at Raymond James Stadium.

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