January 19, 2022

Bucs Life

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Outlook On 2021 Opponents

5 min read

Image Credit: Matt Ludtke | AP

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will open their 2021 season on a Thursday night for a primetime game against the Dallas Cowboys. Coming off of their second Super Bowl in franchise history, the Bucs are very confident that they can do it all over again. They also return all of their key players from last season, and head coach Bruce Arians and GM Jason Licht received new contracts. Arians received a pay raise, and Licht received several extra years from the 2019 deal that was supposed to run through 2023. Tom Brady and his longtime teammate Rob Gronkowski decided not to retire, and it looks like they want another Super Bowl.

The 2021 season has an exciting schedule, and there are five PRIMETIME games this season.

After the Bucs won Super Bowl XXXVII, the 2003 season had four primetime games, and the Bucs were 2-2 through those games. That shows the defending Super Bowl Champions come in with a lot of pressure, but Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski are no strangers to it.

Dallas Cowboys (September 9, 2021, 8:20 pm) The Cowboys are very talented and can compete for the NFC East Championship. Their last division title was in 2018, but last season was Mike McCarthy’s first season in Dallas, and he also has a Super Bowl ring. Dak Prescot has dealt with injuries since the draft. He signed a four-year $160 million contract. If he stays healthy, I think the Cowboys can win the NFC East easily.

Atlanta Falcons – The Falcons recently made a coaching change, and they drafted tight end, Kyle Pitts, in the first round. Matt Ryan is still there, but Julio Jones is gone, which means Ryan has to look for another target.

LA Rams – One of the most significant moves of the offseason was Jarred Goff leaving the Rams for the Lions and Matthew Stafford coming to the Rams. Sean McVay is a players coach, and I expect the Rams to compete for the NFC West with the Seahawks. This will be Tampa Bay’s first trip to the Rams’ new dome stadium.

New England Patriots (October 3, 2021, 8:20 pm) – The Patriots are looking to forget about last season after missing the playoffs for the first time since 2008. I think that it is amazing that when you lose Tom Brady, you see signs of downfall immediately. Cam Newton plays good at times, and there are times when he is inconsistent, but New England drafted former Alabama quarterback Mac Jones in the first round. Week four is a game that Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, and Bill Belichick have circled on their schedule for this season. Will it be a happy reunion in Foxboro at Gillette?

Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins were one win away from the playoffs last year, but Ryan Fitzpatrick is gone, and it is officially Tua’s team now. Miami did really well in the 2021 draft by drafting Jaylen Waddell in the first round with the sixth pick overall. Drafting Waddell gives Tua another weapon, and it will help him get better.

Philadelphia Eagles (October 14, 2021, 8:20 pm) – Since winning Super Bowl LII, the Eagles have become a dumpster fire. Speaking of fire, they fired the first head coach ever to win them a Super Bowl in Doug Pederson, and they released Carson Wentz. The Eagles can be really good, but just like the Cowboys, it’s an easy division to win; it all starts at quarterback.

Chicago Bears – When the Bears are at their best, it’s when they have a game manager at quarterback, they drafted Justin Fields in the first round. We just have to wait and see how it works out, and they are in a division with the Green Bay Packers.\

New Orleans Saints (December 19, 2021, 8:20 pm) – Drew Brees is gone, but the talent is still there, but you do have to ask yourself who will be their starting quarterback. Jameis Winston seems like he will start, but they did draft Ian Book out of Notre Dame to succeed Drew Brees eventually.

Washington Football Team – Washington won the NFC East last season and was defeated by the Bucs in the wildcard round. I expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to be their starting quarterback this season, and I expect Kyle Allen to compete as well. Washington is talented, and if they hope to win the NFC East again, they should let Fitzmagic do his thing, especially in the big games.

New York Giants (November 22, 2021, 8:15 pm)– It has been rough for the Giants ever since the later years of Eli Manning. Daniel Jones can lead the Giants similarly to Eli, but the front office has been the Giants’ problem. Coaches have come and went since Tom Coughlin was fired, but they drafted Kadarius Toney in the first round. I expect the Giants to be better this year.

Indianapolis Colts – It is the beginning of a new chapter for the Indianapolis Colts. Carson Wentz is reunited with his offensive coordinator from when he was at his best in Philadelphia before his injury in 2017. The Colts have been very competitive in the AFC South recently; and made the wildcard last season but lost to the Buffalo Bills. I expect the Colts to make a lot of noise in the AFC South.

Buffalo Bills – Ever since Josh Allen was drafted in 2018, Buffalo has become a different team, especially with Stefon Diggs. The Bills did struggle with the running game some last season, but they are talented on both sides. The defense was fun to watch a year ago, especially their secondary, and I hated seeing them not make it to the Super Bowl last season.

Carolina Panthers – The Panthers have the talent to compete in the NFC South. They also were very competitive in games, but they could not finish in games that they lost. Carolina did sign Sam Darnold after Teddy Bridgewater moved on to the Broncos, but will it be a different season in Carolina in 2021?

New York Jets – The Jets have hit the restart button this time. After firing Adam Gase, hiring new head coach Robert Saleh, and trading Sam Darnold to draft Zach Wilson in the first round. In my opinion, the Jets’ problems go way back to the Rex Ryan era and him not producing his players offensively. The Jets can’t put Zach Wilson in their right away, but we will have a training camp and preseason this year for them to be settled for week one.