Bucs have faced stiff schedule

Last season, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers went 10-6, the frequent knock was that their schedule was too soft.

This year, the Bucs are off to a 4-5 start and their schedule has been anything but soft. At the moment, the Bucs have played the league’s fourth most difficult schedule. That’s based on the combined records of the opponents each NFL team has faced.

Tampa Bay’s opponents are a combined 48-37 (.565 winning percentage). No other NFC South team is even in the top 12. The Seattle Seahawks have had the league’s most difficult schedule so far. Seattle’s opponents are 49-33 (.598). Minnesota and Denver are the only other teams that have played more difficult schedules than Tampa Bay’s.

The Carolina Panthers are No. 13. Their opponents are 43-39 (.524). The Atlanta Falcons are No. 21. Their opponents are 40-43 (.482). The New Orleans Saints are No. 25. Their opponents are 42-50 (.457).

The Bucs are the only team in the NFL who have played their last five games against teams who now currently have six wins (New Orleans twice). Things do get a little easier for the Bucs going forward. Their remaining opponents are a combined 31-32 (.492).