The Buccaneers have had a massive offseason, which has led to a significant amount of hype for the 2020 season—even amid all of the peculiarities that the ongoing pandemic has brought on. We haven’t seen this much hype about a football season in Tampa since 2017, when the team was on HBO’s “Hard Knocks.” And that was nothing compared to this.
Now, with the NFL releasing the full 2020 regular season schedule on Thursday night (after leaks throughout the day), we know exactly what lies ahead for Tampa Bay, a team of course now led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
The Bucs, unsurprisingly, open up with a big game, traveling to New Orleans for an NFC South showdown with the Saints. That’s right, we’re getting Brady vs. Drew Brees part one right away, kicking off the season with it at 4:25 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 13.
The following Sunday (Sept. 20), Tampa Bay will make its 2020 home debut, hosting the Carolina Panthers at 1:00 p.m.. It’ll obviously be Brady’s first time in Raymond James Stadium as a member of the home team, and if we are somehow at a point where fans are allowed in attendance, it’ll be his first time playing in front of his new home fans. (Not that you should be holding your breath on that, unfortunately).
Following two divisional contests to start the season, the Bucs will play back-to-back games against AFC West opponents. The first will be played on Sept. 27 in Denver against the Broncos, kicking off at 4:25 p.m. The team will then return home for Week 4 to host the Los Angeles Chargers on Oct. 4 at 1:00 p.m.
In Week 5, the Bucs will make their 2020 prime-time debut, heading to Chicago for a Thursday Night Football matchup with the Bears. That game will kick off at 8:20 p.m.
Week 6 will be a big one in Tampa, with Brady and the Bucs hosting Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 18 at 4:25 p.m.
Week 7 starts a three-week string of prime-time games for Tampa Bay, which starts with a Sunday Night Football game on Oct. 25 in Las Vegas against the Raiders (8:20 p.m.). The stretch continues in Week 8 with a Monday Night Football matchup (Nov. 2), which is another road game—this one at MetLife Stadium against the Giants (8:15 p.m.). The final of the Bucs’ three straight prime-time contests will come on Nov. 8 when they host the Saints at Raymond James Stadium on Sunday Night Football (8:20 p.m.).
The slate continues with a Week 10 home game on Sunday, Nov. 15 against the Panthers. That one is set for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.
The Bucs will then return to prime time in Week 11 when they host the Los Angeles Rams on Monday Night Football (Nov. 23 at 8:15 p.m.).
Another one of the big highlights for the Bucs on their 2020 schedule is a home game against the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs. That game is set for Week 12 (Nov. 29) and will kick off at 4:25 p.m. It’s somewhat surprising that a meeting between Brady and Patrick Mahomes wasn’t given a prime slot, but CBS may have had something to do with that. In any case, that game will probably get the “A” crew on the call.
The Bucs will FINALLY have their bye week the following week (Week 13) before entering the season’s final stretch. They’ll host the Vikings on Dec. 13—kicking off at 1:00 p.m.—before going to Atlanta in Week 15 (Dec. 20), playing that game at 1:00 p.m. as well.
Tampa Bay will then head to Detroit in December for the second straight season, taking on the Lions at Ford Field in Week 16. That game’s official date is to be determined, as it could be Saturday, Dec. 26 or Sunday, Dec. 27.
And finally, the Bucs will wrap up their 2020 regular season with a home game against the Falcons. The second meeting between the two in the final three weeks of the season is scheduled for Jan. 3, 2021, with a 1:00 p.m. kickoff.
Overall, Tampa Bay is scheduled for five prime-time games in 2020, with the potential to play another de facto prime-time game if the Week 16 game against Detroit is played on Saturday. The high number of prime slots for the Bucs isn’t surprising in the least, although it’s a bit of a shock to see those games come against the likes of the Giants, Rams and Bears instead of the Packers and Chiefs.
Of course, before they can kick off the regular season, the Bucs will play their four-game preseason slate, which was also announced on Thursday night. The team will open in Pittsburgh against the Steelers between Aug. 13 and Aug. 17 before hosting the Jaguars in Tampa on Aug. 22 at 8 p.m. After hosting the Titans between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30, the Bucs will wrap up the preseason on either Sept. 3 or Sept. 4 in Cleveland against the Browns.
Stay tuned to BucsNation.com over the next couple of days, as we’ll have further breakdowns of Tampa Bay’s 2020 slate! For now, let us know what you think of the schedule in the comments down below.