Originally posted on Football Nation  |  Last updated 4/27/12
This season the Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to improve on a 4-12 record from 2011. This article looks at highs and lows of Tampa Bay’s 2012 schedule.

The first two weeks of the regular season are not going to be easy for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In Week 1, Tampa Bay will match up against division rival Carolina Panthers, who beat Tampa Bay by a combined score of 86-35 in two meetings last season. In Week 2, Tampa Bay will travel to New York to take on the defending champion Giants.

Depending on how much Tampa Bay has improved last season, weeks three through six should be easier to handle, as the team will play at Dallas, then play Washington at home, then have a bye week before taking on Kansas City at home.

In Week 7 Tampa Bay will face division rival the New Orleans Saints, which should be an interesting match-up of teams that are vastly different then they were in 2011. Weeks 8-10 will see Tampa Bay play at Minnesota, at Oakland and back home to take on the San Diego Chargers.

Weeks 11 and 12 are going to be defining games for the season because Tampa Bay will play two divisional games, one against Carolina and one against Atlanta, at the same time playoff contenders and playoff pretenders are trying to separate themselves from one another.

After playing at Denver in Week 13 and at home against Philadelphia in Week 14, Tampa Bay will play against two divisional opponents in the last three weeks, with one game being at New Orleans and the other at Atlanta. In between New Orleans and Atlanta, Tampa Bay will play at home versus St. Louis in Week 16.

Tampa Bay is playing in one Thursday night game against Minnesota on October 25, which will air on NFL Network. This should be a good game between former NFC Central rivals, however from a fan’s perspective, the Week 2 match-up with New York or the Week 13 match-up at Denver would have been better games to show to a national audience.

Tampa Bay will have a tough road ahead of them as they try to improve on last season’s record of 4-12, however I would not be surprised if Tampa Bay pulled out at least nine wins this season. 

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