Since the NFL realigment of 2002 formed the NFC South, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have more often than not come out of their bye week in good shape. In six of the last 10 years, the Bucs won their post-bye game. That included several seasons – most notably 2009 and 2004 – in which the team did not post a very good win-loss record overall.
This year, the Bucs will return from their time off to take on the Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium on October 14. In so doing, they’ll try to rekindle a very enjoyable streak that hit a speed-bump last year. Before their Week Nine loss at New Orleans last season, the Buccaneers had won four consecutive post-bye contests. Among those was a dominating 31-7 road victory in Atlanta in 2007 in Week 11 and the most memorable weekend of 2009 – a 38-28 victory over Green Bay in Josh Freeman’s first NFL start, snapping an 0-7 beginning to that campaign.
Overall, the Bucs are 9-13 in games following bye weeks since the practice was introduced into the schedule in 1991 (there were two bye weeks in 1993, a much-reviled and quickly-abandoned development). Tampa Bay started out poorly in that category, losing its first six post-bye games (1991-95), but it should be noted that all six of those games were, strangely, on the road. The Bucs’ first opportunity to stay at home after a bye week resulted in a 24-13 win over Minnesota that stood as Tony Dungy’s first win as a head coach after an 0-5 start.
Overall, the combination of getting a week off and being able to stay home for the next game has proved advantageous to the Buccaneers. Since the bye week was established, the Bucs are 7-3 when following a week off with a home game. That’s exactly the situation they’ll encounter on October 14 when the Chiefs come to town.