The Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost a 37-26 decision to the Carolina Panthers on Sunday in what was officially a home game, though it was played about 4,400 miles away from Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers latest effort in the NFL's International Series – their third game played in London following 2009 and 2011 visits – was marred by protection problems and six turnovers by Jameis Winston. Now the focus shifts to rest and recovery.
As has become customary for teams taking part in the series of London games, the Buccaneers and Panthers will go directly from overseas travel into their bye week. That will help the Bucs overcome the effects of transatlantic travel, but in this case the bye also comes as the team is dealing with a handful of significant injuries. The offensive line, for instance, was without starters Demar Dotson and Alex Cappa. That showed up in the protection issues, with Winston being taken down seven times and hurried throughout the day. After the game, Head Coach Bruce Arians said he did not expect Dotson and Cappa to return against the Titans but hoped they would be available the following week in Seattle, and the bye week will certainly help with that.
Arians will not conduct any practices during the bye week. Players will report for meetings on Monday but then will have the next six days off; many will use this time to visit family or otherwise tend to business out of town. Players can come into the AdventHealth Training Center for treatment from Tuesday through Thursday.
The Buccaneers return to action in Week Eight with a road trip to Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans. It will be Tampa Bay's first interconference game of the season; the Bucs will play all four AFC South teams this year, but the other three games – against Jacksonville, Indianapolis and Houston – all fall in December. The Week Eight Bucs-Titans affair will also feature the second meeting of quarterbacks Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, who were the first two players picked in the 2015 NFL Draft.
Though it is broken up by the bye week, Tampa Bay's unusually long road swing continues with the relatively short trip to Nashville in Week Eight. That six-week, five-game tour away from home began with a rousing 55-40 win over the Los Angeles Rams, but a 31-24 loss in New Orleans evened the ledger. The loss to the Panthers split the season series and left the Bucs at 1-2 in division play. After facing the Titans the Bucs will have another long journey, heading to Seattle in Week Nine before finally playing another game at Raymond James Stadium on November 10 against Arizona.