With the release of all 32 NFL teams' schedules, teams like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers now know what lies ahead of them for the upcoming 2024 season.

They'll begin their 2024 season on September 9 at home versus the Washington Commanders. So, they could be the first team that gets to play against first-round, No. 2 overall pick Jayden Daniels. But that will be just the first of their 17 challenges to get back to the postseason.

Most weren't expecting the Buccaneers to come out on top of their division last year, winning their third straight NFC South title. Being that it was the first year post-Tom Brady and first with Baker Mayfield, there were lots of question marks. But then Mayfield and five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Mike Evans started to connect early and often and propelled them back into the playoffs.

Of course, the Buccaneers did take advantage of being in their lowly division. They had a 9-8 finish but did make it past the wild card round with a blowout victory over the Philadelphia Eagles to get into the divisional round. However, they were no match for the Detroit Lions in front of a raucous Ford Field crowd where their season ended.

To get back into the playoffs, the Buccaneers will have to get past what Sharp Football Analysis has called the 11th easiest schedule in the league in 2024. That's, of course, based on projected win totals from Vegas oddsmakers. But to help get them through it will be Mayfield, Evans and even Antoine Winfield Jr., who all decided to stay with the team on new deals.

The Buccaneers have an advantage early and late

If there's one thing the Buccaneers can be thankful for, it's that they end their season with two straight home games in 2024. That's something only three teams can say for their upcoming schedules. And they're both against NFC South opponents (Panthers, Saints), which means if the race is tight at the end, being at home at Raymond James Stadium for the last two games will add home-field to their advantage.

Even the first month of the season isn't too awfully bad for the Buccaneers. They get two out of their first three games at home.

They at least get to face a possible rookie quarterback at home in Week 1 against the Commanders. Then it will be off to Detroit the next week for a divisional round rematch from last year. Then back at home for what again will possibly be another rookie quarterback in Bo Nix for the Denver Broncos. September then ends with another home game against the Eagles in the wild card rematch.

That means that for the first and last month of the season, the Buccaneers will get to play a lot of their home games. It's that middle part of the season that gets worrisome.

The Buccaneers face a tough middle of the road 2024 NFL schedule

Baker Mayfield and the Buccaneers agreed to a three-year contract this offseason.

Once the Buccaneers finish with the Eagles in Week 4 to wrap up the first month of the season, that's really when the schedule starts to ramp up. They'll have their first of four prime time games when they face the Falcons in Atlanta on Thursday Night Football. They'll head to New Orleans the next week to face the Saints before it's back at home for the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football, the second versus Atlanta at home, then the Kansas City Chiefs on another Monday Night Football game, and finally hosting the San Francisco 49ers in Week 10 before they go on a bye.

This is a ruthless stretch for the Buccaneers. First of all, they have three division games, which we all know is tough in that division where no one was great last season and they just exchanged wins most of the time. But two of those will be against what should be a much-improved Falcons team coming after the division title.

During this stretch, Tampa Bay has to face three out of the final four teams to make the playoffs last year. They'll have both the AFC Championship game opponents (Ravens, Chiefs) in Monday Night Football games, one being on the road, with a game against the Falcons between them. And then finally, it will be last year's NFC Champions, the San Francisco 49ers, as by then they'll be praying for a bye week.

If the Buccaneers can make it through that stretch fairly unscathed, then they probably will deserve to win their fourth consecutive division title. If not, then their streak may end. A 9-8 record will probably not cut it to win a division title this season.