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Tampa Bay Bucs open a tougher schedule on the road

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The Tampa Bay Bucs got a look at just how difficult it will be to increase their six-win total of a year ago on Thursday night.

The NFL schedule was released Thursday, including back-to-back games to open theseason. There are also two prime-time games.

The Bucs open their season in Atlanta, an 8-8 team that was swept by the Bucs a year ago. They then travel to Arizona to play the Cardinals, who were 13-3 a year ago.

Tampa Bay comes home in week three to play the newly transplanted Los Angeles Rams. The Rams traded for the NFL’s No. 1 pick in the draft on Thursday.

After that, the Bucs play against the Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos. Following that is a Monday night game at the Super Bowl runners-up Carolina Panthers.

The Bucs have a bye in week six, then travel to San Francisco.

After that, the Bucs play three games in a row at home: Oakland, Atlanta and Chicago. The Bucs then go to Kansas City, then return home to play Seattle. After that are games at San Diego, home against New Orleans, at Dallas, at New Orleans. The Bucs finish their season on New Year’s Day against Carolina.

The Bucs, led by Jameis Winston, play prime time games against Carolina and Atlanta.

Tampa Bay plays six games against teams that won as many as 10 games last year: Arizona, Denver, Carolina (twice), Kansas City and Seattle.

Gary Shelton is one of the most recognized and honored sportswriters in the history of the state. He has won the APSE's national columnist of the year twice and finished in the top 10 eight times. He was named the Florida Sportswriter of the Year six times. Gary joined SaintPetersBlog in the spring, helping to bring a sports presence to the website. Over his time in sports writing, Gary has covered 29 Super Bowls, 10 Olympics, Final Fours, Masters, Wimbledons and college national championships. He was there when the Bucs won a Super Bowl, when the Lightning won a Stanley Cup and when the Rays went to a World Series. He has seen Florida, FSU and Miami all win national championships, and he covered Bear Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Don Shula along the way. He and his wife Janet have four children: Eric, Kevin, K.C. and Tori. To contact, visit garysheltonsports@gmail.com.

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