Not So Soft Schedule?

July 30th, 2021

Bucco Bruce Arians

Some NFL analysts believe the Bucs will feast this season on a softer schedule than last year. These same people are focused, naturally, on win-loss records of 2021 opponents.

It may not be that obvious.

Noted handicapper and stathead Warren Sharp, while peeling the onion skins back on researching the Bucs’ schedule, unearthed a couple of stats that certainly got Joe’s attention.

In short, the Bucs struggled against good run defenses last year. And the Bucs will be facing a lot of those teams as Sharp points out in his Sharp Football Analysis 2021 Preview.

In 2020, the Bucs went 0-4 against teams with run defenses that ranked inside the top-15… until [after] the bye week when they went pass heavy against the Falcons and won both games.

Meanwhile, the Bucs went 9-1 against teams that ranked worse than top-15 in run defense. All those first down runs worked on the bad run defenses but caused the Bucs to lose games against the good ones.

Well in 2021, the Bucs are scheduled to play 10 teams that ranked top-15 in run defense last year, with most projecting to still have solid run defenses in 2021.

As such, it will be vital to shift to the pass more on first down.

And what is the strength of the Bucs? Downfield passing.

This just reinforces why Joe is so adamant that the Bucs, with the best set of receivers and tight ends this century — maybe in the history of the Super Bowl era — must get the ball into the hands of their best players more. Your best players make things happen that leads to good results.

The less the Bucs throw the ball past the sticks, the more they are cheating themselves.

Soak in today’s new Ira Kaufman Podcast.

5 Responses to “Not So Soft Schedule?”

  1. Chuck T Says:

    Just throw the pigskin, Brady is good.

  2. Pickgrin Says:

    Last year’s offensive stats for the Bucs prior to the bye week are meaningless to ‘analyze’. Especially when trying to project them into a new year.

    Brady and the Bucs offense shifted into a whole new gear starting with the second half of the Atlanta game down 0-17 – and didn’t let up until the Championship was secured.

    With a whole offseason to additionally fine tune this lethal and finally clicking on (most) all cylinders Buccaneers offense – I expect to see BIG offensive production starting with game one.

    Gio’s ability to catch anything Brady throws in his direction and get past the sticks on 3rd down is an element that didn’t exist for the Bucs offense in 2020.

    Gronk and OJ Howard catching lots of balls over the middle is going to be fun to watch this year as well….

    And the WRs – well we all know what they can and will do.

    This Bucs team is LOADED with offensive weapons like no team in NFL history.

    This year could be so epic for the Tampa Bay football Franchise. As if last year wasn’t….. LOL

  3. JimmyJack Says:

    The NFL botched their 17th game. They could have used it to handpick matchups with great appeal. Tampa Bay Green Bay not playing this season is really a sin.

    But better then that would be to have the 17th game be an open schedule and use it to settle tiebreakers. Ive always hated that tiebreakers get settle on something stupid a week 2 loss to a NFC West team. Very dumb………Tied teams should play week 17 head to head. The tiebreaker can be used to determine home field. The remaining teams can play based on draft slots and play for the picks……..Tell me a 1-15 Lions vs a 2-14 Jaguars wouldnt be great football if the winner gets the #1 overall pick?

    They really screwed up the 17th game. WTF are we playing the Tdxzns for? Doesnt make a lick of sense.

  4. SlyPirate Says:

    I’m not concerned.

    The Bucs have to play those teams, which means they have to play the Bucs.

    Hey stat guy, How’d those 10 teams do against the defending champs?

  5. Wild Bill Says:

    I don’t see anybody stopping the Bucs passing game. If the run game is a solid average or better we make the playoffs for sure. Assuming the defense does its job. I still worry about the dbs. They might be our biggest weakness. Way too many wide open receivers, especially early on. Some of the opposition top receivers ate our lunch.