Week 1: at New Orleans Saints

What a way to start the season and the Tom Brady era. Brady has been favored in an NFL-record 74 consecutive games, but that appears as if it will change when the Bucs travel to New Orleans to begin their 2020 campaign.

Coming off a 13-3 season, Drew Brees and company will look to make it four straight NFC South titles. The Saints made a couple of offseason additions of their own in bringing back veteran safety Malcolm Jenkins as well as signing Emmanuel Sanders to serve as the number two receiver opposite Michael Thomas. New Orleans has as good of a roster as any team in the league in my opinion and this will be a great test to start the season for the Bucs. I expect this game to be close down to the wire but I’ll give a slight edge to the home team and the defending division champs. (0-1)

Week 2: vs. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers come into the season with the most unknowns and as perhaps the biggest wild card in this division. With new head coach Matt Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater under center, it will be interesting to how this new-look offense operates. On top of that, Carolina loses the heart and soul of their defense in Luke Kuechly. Keeping Christian McCaffrey in check is always a challenge, but one the Bucs did a pretty good job of doing a season ago. To me, this is the perfect opportunity for the Bucs to get their first win of the new season and perhaps in resounding fashion in front of(hopefully) the home crowd at Ray J. (1-1)

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Week 3: at Denver Broncos

The Bucs find their trap game early on in the season in my mind when they travel to the Mile High City. The Broncos have been known for their defense in recent years, but it appears they could now have the offense to match it, lead by Drew Lock. Not only did they sign Melvin Gordon to pair with Philip Lindsay, but they drafted arguably the most complete receiver in Jerry Jeudy to line up opposite Courtland Sutton. Brady and the Bucs get their road slip-up out of the way early on in their first AFC matchup of the year. (1-2)

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Week 4: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Speaking of AFC matchups, the Bucs get back to back when the Chargers come to Tampa. Whether Tyrod Taylor or Justin Herbert is the signal-caller come week four, the Bucs should be comfortable favorites in this one. However, the Chargers do once again have a very talented roster on paper and along with Denver should be in the AFC wild-card discussion. With that said, I expect the Bucs to get back on track with perhaps a breakout game in the cards for Rojo to take some pressure off of Brady and the passing game. (2-2)

Week 5: at Chicago Bears

This should be another tricky road test early on for Tampa Bay. Another scenario where it could be a couple of different guys under center when this game rolls around. Nick Foles gives them the best chance to win to me, so it will be interesting to see the amount of trust Matt Nagy has in Mitch Trubisky. Khalil Mack and company could keep Chicago in this game, but in primetime I expect Brady to play well enough to get their first road win (3-2)

Week 6: vs. Green Bay Packers

BuccaneersAaron Rodgers vs. Tom Brady, does it get any better than that? The storyline entering 2020 in Green Bay is instead of drafting some support for Rodgers, they went out and got his successor. That could mean one of two things; there is going to be a disconnect or that A-Rod is going to come out and have an MVP-caliber season. I would bet on the latter and I think he will have this one circled on his calendar. This game and the quarterback play should live up to the hype and I actually expect the Packers to pull it out late. (3-3)

Week 7: at Las Vegas Raiders

This is the spot for me when the Bucs finally hit their stride and begin to show us what they are capable of. I am actually more of a fan of Derek Carr than most, and Josh Jacobs and Darren Waller are some nice young pieces but the overall talent on both sides of the ball just is not there in my eyes. That could all change if Henry Ruggs ends up being a star, but he was at best the third receiver in this class to me. This could end up being a long night for Jon Gruden’s team with the whole world watching on Sunday night in primetime. (4-3)

Week 8: at New York Giants

With the Bucs traveling back across the country to take on a team that beat them a season ago, one could make a case for an upset here. I’m not buying it. Daniel Jones had his coming out party in Tampa last year, but I see him struggling as Todd Bowles’ defense starts to show they are a formidable unit. Saquon Barkley should and likely will be the focus, and if they can contain him this could be back to back big Buccaneer victories. (5-3)

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