Last season’s championship-winning squad remains largely intact with star QB Tom Brady returning for his 21st NFL season.
The Bucs will be favored to win the NFC South and have a relatively easy 2021 strength of schedule on paper, ranked 29th (.465) in the NFL.
Let’s take a closer look at the Buccaneers' 2021 NFL schedule and predict how the Super Bowl champions will do this season.
Week 1 - Sept 9: vs Dallas Cowboys
The Buccaneers feature in the first game of the NFL regular season at home on Thursday Night Football against the Dallas Cowboys. Raymond James Stadium should be packed with Bucs fans celebrating their championship-winning team. The returning Dak Prescott and the Cowboys will be a tough first-up test for Tampa Bay but I’d expect the Bucs to squeak out an opening night victory in a high-scoring affair.
Week 2 - Sept 19: vs Atlanta Falcons
NFC South divisional rivals: The Falcons visit in Week 2. Tampa will enjoy a few extra days of rest and that should help them overcome a feisty Matt Ryan and Falcons team. Every home divisional game is key to winning the division and securing the number one seed in the NFC.
Week 3 - Sept 26: at L.A. Rams
The Buccaneers' first road trip is a tough one, as they visit the new SoFi stadium to play the Los Angeles Rams. Sean McVay and new Rams QB Matthew Stafford will have this game marked on their calendars. I see the LA defense causing Brady all sorts of problems, and Stafford doing just enough on offense to beat the Super Bowl champions in front of a raucous home crowd.
Week 4 - Oct 3: at New England Patriots
It's the 2021 NFL regular-season matchup everyone is looking forward to - the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the New England Patriots. Tom Brady’s long-waited return to Foxborough to face his former head coach Bill Belichick. In what will be an intense clash, I’m backing Belichick to be able to defeat the GOAT Tom Brady at home in a very close game. A last-minute field goal is how I see the Patriots winning this titanic Sunday Night Football battle.
Week 5 - Oct 10: vs Miami Dolphins
After two straight road games, the Bucs return home to face the Miami Dolphins. This is where the Buccaneers get their season back on track after two straight defeats. They will have too much offensive firepower for the fins to keep up with. Miami QB Tua Tagovailoa will struggle against the Bucs defense.
Week 6 - Oct 14: at Philadelphia Eagles
Bruce Arians and his Buccaneers squad will get their first road win in Philadelphia in Week 6. The Eagles have a new coach and a second-year quarterback in Jalen Hurts. They just don’t have the talent to score enough points to beat the Buccaneers in 2021.
Week 7 - Oct 24: vs Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears come to town to face the Bucs in Week 7. Who will be the visiting quarterback is anyone’s guess. Whoever is under center will have a tough time against the Bucs defense in Tampa. This should be a relatively easy home win for the defending NFL champions.
Week 8 - Oct 31: at New Orleans Saints
Defending NFC South champions the New Orleans Saints host the Bucs in Week 8. I see this as being a torrid battle between the divisional rivals. Lots of points will be scored with the Saints looking to exact some revenge from last season’s playoff defeat. This is a rare divisional game that I see the Bucs losing this year.
Week 9 - Nov 7: Bye
Week 10 - Nov 14: at Washington Football Team
The Week 10 road game against the Washington Football Team should be a bounceback win for the Bucs. The defense will trouble WFT quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and force him into making errors that Brady and the offense can capitalize on.
Week 11 - Nov 22: vs New York Giants
Anytime Tom Brady can beat the New York Giants, he will be happy. The Buccaneers face the team that defeated Brady twice in the past Super Bowls in Week 11. Again, I believe the Bucs defense will be too much for quarterback Daniel Jones and the Giants offense to overcome.
Week 12 - Nov 28: at Indianapolis Colts
The revamped Indianapolis Colts, with Carson Wentz at quarterback, will beat the visiting Bucs in Week 12. Colts head coach Frank Reich will work his magic for the Colts to get enough points to overcome Tampa bay at home. Another close defeat for the Buccaneers on the road.
Week 13 - Dec 5: at Atlanta Falcons
The Bucs follow up a trip to Indianapolis with a road game at Atlanta. After losing the previous week to the Colts, the Bucs will rebound with a big NFC South road win. Matt Ryan, Julio Jones and rookie Kyle Pitts will again pose the Buccaneers some problems but they’ll fall just short at home.
Week 14 - Dec 12: vs Buffalo Bills
AFC North champions the Buffalo Bills will be the first team to beat the Buccaneers at home this season. Josh Allen and the Bills will be able to score enough points to eek out a big road victory over Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.
Week 15 - Dec 19: vs New Orleans Saints
Jameis Winston and the Saints visit the Bucs in Week 15 in another big NFC South matchup. The Bucs will be determined to win this divisional game and I see them dominating the Saints at home. This game will be the turning point in the Buccaneers' regular season.
Week 16 - Dec 26: at Carolina Panthers
Sam Darnold and the Carolina Panthers finally face the Bucs in Week 16 of the 2021 NFL regular season. This will be a tough day at the office for the Panthers, especially their new QB Darnold. The Buccaneers will reaffirm their place atop the NFC South with a big away win.
Week 17 - Jan 2: at New York Jets
The Buccaneers will roll into the Big Apple confident of knocking over the rebuilding New York Jets. As the post-season approaches, expect to see Tampa Bay firing on all cylinders in a complete beat down of the Jets.
Week 18 - Jan 9: vs Carolina Panthers
The visiting Panthers should pose no issues for the rolling Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home. The last game of the season may even offer Burce Arians the opportunity to rest some of his big names as they look towards the playoffs.
Buccaneers regular season record prediction
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will go 12-5 this season, winning the NFC South and easily qualifying for the playoffs. Las Vegas oddsmakers are predicting the Bucs to win 11.5 games in the 2021 NFL regular season.