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Breaking down the Bucs’ 2024 schedule

The Buccaneers’ 2024 schedule dropped Wednesday night, and it was a mixed bag for Tampa Bay. They get four primetime games, but it comes at the cost of a murderer’s row in the first half of the season.

The Bucs are one of two teams in the NFL to face the top four teams with the best odds to make the Super Bowl per ESPN. All four teams—the Chiefs, the Ravens, the 49ers and the Lions—also played in the 2023 conference championships. Tampa Bay is to play all of them before their bye in Week 11.

Tampa Bay begins the 2024 season hosting the Washington Commanders, likely helmed by the second-overall pick of the 2024 NFL Draft Jayden Daniels. Todd Bowles has a 10-5 record against rookie quarterbacks since joining the Bucs, so the odds should favor Tampa Bay.

Over the next three weeks, the Bucs face two 2023 playoff rematches, returning to Detroit in Week 2 and again welcoming the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 4. Both teams remain playoff contenders though repeat results are not guaranteed.

Tampa Bay’s first taste of NFC South action come with a road trip over Weeks 5 and 6, taking on the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday Night Football before moving to the New Orleans Saints. The Bucs return home begin the toughest four-week stretch of the season, beginning with the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football in Week 7.

After hosting the Falcons in Week 8, the Bucs travel to Kansas City for Super Bowl LV rematch, also on Monday Night Football. Tampa Bay lost their last rematch 31-41 in 2022. They return home to face the 49ers, who have outscored the Bucs 93-38 in the three matchups they have had since Bowles has been in Tampa Bay.

With the most treacherous part of their season out of the way, the Bucs get their bye in Week 11. For the rest of the season, they play just one team that had a winning record in 2023, the Dallas Cowboys who they will face on Sunday Night Football in Week 16. Tampa Bay have not played the Cowboys since their 2022 Wild Card game where Dak Prescott and the Dallas offense all but ended the Tom Brady era.

Before their last primetime game, the Bucs will face off against their former offensive coordinator Dave Canales and the Panthers in Week 13. Then, they take on another head coach new to his team though not new to the job, Jim Harbaugh and the Los Angeles Chargers.

The Bucs finish the season with a pair of home divisional games against the Panthers and Saints. Over the last two seasons, the Bucs only secured the NFC South championship in the final week of the season. These divisional games could prove decisive yet again.

Story originally appeared on Buccaneers Wire