It’s been a crazy week with my favorite franchise going from the outhouse to the penthouse and I'm bubbling with anticipation for the upcoming season. The current climate in our country certainly provides some uncertainty, but the NFL has been moving along according to schedule, albeit slightly altered to accommodate social distancing. The real NFL schedule is slated to be released in mid-April, but the opponents are already known and have been my phone wallpaper for months. Free Agency is dying down and we need some sports to talk about, so let's take a look at what I think the NFL Schedule could look like for my beloved Buccaneers:
Week 1 – Sunday September 13th vs. Green Bay Packers – 8:30pm NBC (Sunday Night Football)
Let’s get this cooking with a big time matchup in primetime. Tom Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers in a home opener for the Bucs. Going out on a slight limb here, but in Peyton Manning’s 1st year with Denver they had him face off against Big Ben and the Steelers and last year the Pats opened on Sunday Night, coincidentally also vs. Pittsburgh. So why not put the Bucs in the national spotlight from the jump and have them in a heavyweight NFC bout to kick off the season? I've been waiting all year for Sunday Niiiiight...
Week 2 – Sunday September 20th at New York Giants – 1pm FOX
I will certainly be in attendance for this one. This is more hoping as mid-late September is a great time to play at Metlife. It’ll be hot, but not too hot and winds will be swirling as usual. This will be a fun matchup of Brady vs. the team that denied him of two additional rings early in the season.
Week 3 – Sunday September 27th at Chicago Bears – 1pm FOX
The NFL schedule makers did the Bucs dirty last year. Seven straight weeks away from home and over 19,000 miles of airline travel. They went so far as to issue an apology to the team after the schedule was released. This year they give them a break with their game in the Windy City early before it gets cold. The Bucs have also played the Bears in the first month of the season the past two times they’ve squared off (2017 & 2018), so we continue this trend in the new decade. This would also be a fun early season for some members of The Yak to take in together…
Week 4 – Sunday October 4th vs. New Orleans Saints – 4:25pm FOX (America’s Game of the Week)
Another heavyweight showdown that will be a national game, but during the day. Brady switching from AFC => NFC was a big win for FOX and they’ll showcase their newest player in what’s sure to be a highly rated game between the #1 and #2 guy in NFL history for Touchdown Passes.
Week 5 – Sunday October 11th vs. Los Angeles Chargers – 1pm CBS
The Bucs will have their second straight game at home vs. a Chargers team that is in flux right now. Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon are all gone. The hot seat could get turned up for Anthony Lynn is he starts out slow.
Week 6 – Sunday October 18th at Atlanta Falcons – 1pm FOX
The Falcons will play host to the Bucs on a Sunday early afternoon game. Chick-Fil-A will be closed.
Week 7 – Sunday October 25th vs. Carolina Panthers – 1pm FOX
Bruce Arians will have his first shot to break in new Panthers HC Matt Rhule in this divisional showdown the week before Halloween.
Week 8 – Monday November 2nd at Las Vegas Raiders – 8:15pm ESPN (Monday Night Football)
Did I say Halloween? How about Halloween weekend the Bucs visit Chucky and the new Black Hole? A rematch of Super Bowl XXXVII with Gruden back to coaching the Silver & Black this time around and the Raaaaaaiiiiddddderrrrrrsssss get to show off that new stadium on Monday Night against Jon's former team.
Week 9 – Sunday November 8th vs. Minnesota Vikings – 1pm FOX
We’re back at home to play the Vikings in a 1pm game. Kirk Cousins and crew at home after a short week with a Monday Night Game in the Pacific Time Zone and a big divisional game the week after. Definitely a trap game.
Week 10 – Sunday November 15th at New Orleans Saints – 8:30pm NBC (Sunday Night Football)
Only six touchdowns separate Tom Brady & Drew Brees for the All-Time lead in touchdown passes. There is a real shot this game could be a tipping point for the lead which the NFL would love. In primetime no less! If this happens I’ll be sure to alert the Bucs they need a laminated printer paper sign to give TB12 when they stop the game if he passes Brees.
Week 11 – Bye
Week 12 – Thursday November 26th – at Detroit Lions – 12:30pm CBS
The Bucs have a bye before the Thursday National TV game and the Lions could certainly benefit from some of the GOAT’s shine. CBS also gets this game which they’d be pumped for having lost Brady to the NFC. The Bucs then get another mini-bye before their next game.
Week 13 – Sunday December 6th vs. Los Angeles Rams – 1pm FOX
The Bucs start a three game home stand vs. a team traveling west => east at a 1pm start. Hopefully they can jump out early on the Rams after last season’s shootout.
Week 14 – Sunday December 13th vs. Kansas City Chiefs – 8:30pm NBC (Sunday Night Football)
BIG TIME matchup. The defending champs come to town for a primetime showdown. Mahomes, Brady. Sunday Night Football. I don't foresee this getting flexed out.
Week 15 – Sunday December 20th vs. Atlanta Falcons – 1pm FOX
The Bucs finish off their three game home stand with a Falcons team that will have quit on Dan Quinn weeks ago. Tampa finishes at home early so the stadium can get nice and shiny for the Outback Bowl in New Year’s Day, but hopefully this won’t be the last home game of the season.
Week 16 – Saturday December 26th at Denver Broncos – 4:30pm CBS
A little star power on a Saturday late afternoon slot. It’s always a show when TB12 visits Mile High and CBS will get to showcase this one which is another consolation by the schedule makers to CBS for losing Brady to the NFC.
Week 17 – Sunday January 3rd at Carolina Panthers – 1pm FOX
The NFL always like to finish with division games and I don’t think they’d put Saints vs. Bucs in this slot just because one of the teams could be resting at this point. Let’s go with the Panthers would could be in a spot to Tank for Trevor.
We’ll see how many I get right on April 16th when the real schedule is released!
And don't forget to buy a shirt!