TAMPA, Fla. -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 2023 schedule was released along with the rest of the NFL slate Thursday.
With Tom Brady's retirement, the national spotlight Tampa has enjoyed over the last three seasons has dimmed. With only two prime-time games, the Bucs are entering a "reload" year as they prefer to call it.
There's also been a quarterback shakeup in the NFC South: All four teams in the division will have a new starting quarterback from the previous year. Since the current division structure was adopted in 2002, there has not been an instance in any division where all four teams had different opening-game quarterbacks from the previous year, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
And after getting spoiled with Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers three times from 2020-2022, we're left with Jordan Love vs. "TBD" at Lambeau Field in Week 15 as both teams navigate new respective chapters without all-time greats.
Here's what's in store for the Bucs:
Sept. 10 at Minnesota
Sept. 17 vs. Chicago
Sept. 25 vs. Philadelphia
Oct. 1 at New Orleans
Oct. 8 BYE
Oct. 15 vs. Detroit
Oct. 22 vs. Atlanta
Oct. 26 at Buffalo
Nov. 12 vs. Tennessee
Nov. 19 at San Francisco
Nov. 26 at Indianapolis
Dec. 3 vs. Carolina
Dec. 10 at Atlanta
Dec. 17 at Green Bay
Dec. 24 vs. Jacksonville
Dec. 31 vs. New Orleans
Week 18: TBD at Carolina
Strength of schedule: 0.484 (22nd toughest)
At the very least, the Bucs will face three rookie quarterbacks in Bryce Young, C.J. Stroud and Anthony Richardson, who were drafted No. 1, No. 2 and No. 4 overall in the 2023 NFL draft. But that number could grow should Will Levis overtake Ryan Tannehill with the Tennessee Titans or Hendon Hooker takes over for the Detroit Lions, which is unlikely given Lions coach Dan Campbell said it would be a "long time" before Hooker starts.
Prior to last season, coach Todd Bowles held a 6-1 record against rookie quarterbacks as defensive coordinator or head coach of the Buccaneers. But in 2022, the Bucs lost to Kenny Pickett, Brock Purdy and Desmond Ridder, although the loss to Ridder came in the final regular-season game, when they rested the majority of their starters after the first half. They were one of four teams to lose multiple games to rookie starters.
We don't know if Baker Mayfield will win the starting quarterback job over Kyle Trask, but given his experience, he should. Which makes those two games against the Carolina Panthers intriguing. Maybe not as intriguing as Mayfield opening the season against the Cleveland Browns last year as a member of the Panthers, but it's certainly a motivating factor as he tries to get his career back on track.
The Buccaneers will start 1-3 before taking their bye. But, quarterback Baker Mayfield will lead them to seven wins in his first season in Tampa Bay.