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2022 Opponent Breakdown: Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Continuing our series of offseason opponent breakdowns following the 2022 schedule release, examines Los Angeles' Week 9 road opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Nov. 6, 1:25 p.m. PT, CBS).



Seeking to defend the Super Bowl title they won on their home turf the prior season, the Buccaneers opened 2021 with a thrilling 31-29 victory over the Cowboys in the NFL's annual Kickoff Game and won six of their first eight games overall. Consequently, they arrived at their Week 9 bye with a 6-2 overall record.

That strong played continued and effectively mirrored itself after the bye, too, as the Bucs went 7-2 over their remaining nine regular season games for a 13-4 record and NFC South division title, plus No. 2 seed in the NFC playoff picture. All of this was accomplished while dealing with multiple key contributors on both offense and defense being injured, including a season-ending torn ACL sustained by wide receiver Chris Godwin in Week 15. There was also the release of wide receiver Antonio Brown after Brown's dramatic mid-game exit in Week 17 against the Jets.


In a somewhat stunning move, head coach Bruce Arians retired from coaching and moved into a front office role with the Bucs; the team subsequently promoted defensive coordinator Todd Bowles as Arians' replacement.

Meanwhile, quarterback Tom Brady retired, then un-retired in a six-week span. However, starting left guard Ali Marpet retired and did not change his mind, which led to Tampa Bay trading for New England offensive guard Shaq Mason in exchange for a fifth-round round pick in this year's draft.

The Bucs also signed veteran safeties Logan Ryan and Keanu Neal each to one-year deals.

Head coach

Bowles enters his first season as head coach of the Bucs, though it is not his first time as one in the NFL.

Prior to joining the Buccaneers coaching staff in 2019, he served as head coach of the Jets from 2015-18. He was also the Dolphins' interim head coach – in addition to serving as secondary coach – in 2011. He went 24-40 in four seasons with the Jets and 2-1 in three games as the Dolphins' interim head coach.

What to watch for

Divisional Round rematch, with some new faces

Each team will look slightly different compared to who was on the field for the previous meetings in January and September.

For the Rams, left tackle Andrew Whitworth retired, wide receiver Robert Woods got traded to the Titans, outside linebacker Von Miller signed with the Bills and punter Johnny Hekker got released; however, they also signed wide receiver Allen Robinson II and linebacker Bobby Wagner this offseason. For Buccaneers, Brown is obviously gone, and Marpet's retirement represents a big loss on the offensive line, even with the addition of Mason. Both teams also have two key free agents currently in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. and tight end Rob Gronkowski.

Thus, there will be some new faces on the field when these teams meet in early November. But with both teams still carrying over much of the same personnel into 2022, this should be another exciting contest.

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