Bucs schedule analysis — Week 5

Serendipity — and the NFL's schedule rotation — has created a matchup between the World Champion Colts and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in early October. How will the Bucs fare? Read on.

Each day for the next 16 days, BucsBlitz.com's Matthew Postins will take a quick look at each game on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2007 schedule. Some things to keep in mind:

Tampa Bay opens on the road for the fourth time in the last five years. The Bucs are 3-1 in that situation.

The Bucs have the third-easiest schedule in the NFL in 2007, by winning percentage.

The Bucs have just one prime-time game scheduled, Dec. 23 at San Francisco. That start time could change if NBC chooses to exercise its "flex scheduling" option for that week.

Tampa Bay at Indianapolis, 4:05 p.m., FOX, Oct. 7

The Colts and Bucs haven't played since that infamous overtime game on "Monday Night Football" in 2003. The Colts' emphatic comeback and victory quite possible was the first nail in the coffin for the Bucs in 2003 and 2004.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say the Colts will be pretty good in 2007. Like many Super Bowl champions, they've lost some players — S Mike Doss, CB Nick Harper, LB Cato June (to the Bucs), DT Montae Reagor, RB Dominic Rhodes and WR Brandon Stokley. They haven't signed much to replace those players, mostly due to cap reasons.

But they still have QB Peyton Manning, WRs Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, and RB Joseph Addai. They still have their starting offensive line intact, along with their starting defensive line. And, if DT Corey Simon and the Colts make nice, they'll have him to pair with DT Anthony McFarland in the middle. It all adds up to Colts coach Tony Dungy being 2-0 against his old team. I will be curious, however, so see how much the Colts defense has fallen off last year's level of play by this point. There has to be some kind of drop off when you lose that type of personnel.

Final score: Indianapolis 27, Tampa Bay 14. Record: 2-3

— Matthew Postins


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