The NFL pulled off a near-perfect draft two weeks ago despite limited resources and it continued to make waves with the 2020 schedule release Thursday night.
Fans everywhere tuned in to find out the official structure for their team’s 2020 season. The NFL released its list of opponents a couple of months ago, but as we all know, it’s when the games are actually played that really matters.
So how did the Bucs shake out? What are the most intriguing games on their 2020 schedule?
Let’s find out.
5. The NFC Central Revisited
Those who own season tickets in Tampa Bay should have the opportunity to watch some fun, exciting matchups this year.
Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will come to town in hopes of building off an excellent 13-3 season that saw them reach the NFC Championship game. This will also mark just the third time that he and Tom Brady have faced off during their respective careers.
The Bucs and Packers go waaaaay back to the days of the NFC Central, Tampa Bay’s old home before it joined the NFC South in 2002.
These two teams have played each other 55 times since 1977, but 47 of those matchups occurred before realignment in ‘02. Since then, the Bucs are 4-4 against their former division rival.
Even though Rodgers and Brady are on the back end of their careers, this game should still be a fun matchup that is wrapped in nostalgia for longtime fans.
4. The Return Of Mr. Jameis Winston On Sunday Night Football
New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers* (Week 9)
Division games aren’t usually ear-marked like this, but this year’s matchup against the Saints will have a much different feel.
And as you’ve probably guessed by now, a lot of that has to do with Jameis Winston. The sixth-year quarterback and former No. 1 overall draft pick will (likely) make his return to Tampa Bay, where he started his NFL career.
Don’t get me wrong, there will be plenty of talk geared toward Brady vs. Drew Brees, but a lot of eyes will be focused on the former quarterback of the Bucs. Even if he’s a healthy scratch, folks will be analyzing every move that deals with him, his former teammates, and coaching staff.
What also makes this game interesting is the timing. Not only is the matchup on Sunday Night Football, but there’s also a good chance that the Week 9 tilt will have playoff/division title implications if everything goes to plan.
Before last year, these two teams had split their yearly meetings from 2015-2018, so it’s been a tightly-contested series over the last few seasons.
Who knows what this year will entail?
3. Matt Gay’s Revenge On Monday Night Football
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. New York Giants* (Week 8)
Are you ready for the Bucs’ first Monday Night Football appearance in two seasons?
Anyone who follows the Bucs knows that last year’s loss to the Giants was a fluke. The Bucs were able to get into position to win the game with a chip-shot field goal only to see it bounce off the right upright and into the turf.
That game was the culmination of Buc football over the last half-decade. Bad defense, penalties, turnovers, poor coaching decisions, and an unreliable kicking game offered up arguably the worst loss of the 2019 season.
But now the Bucs get a chance to avenge last year’s loss not only in New York, but on Monday Night Football, as well.
This will mark the first Monday Night game since 2018 and just the fifth appearance in the last 10 seasons (2011-2020). The Bucs hold an overall record of 12-11 on MNF, but are just 3-6 on the road.
Here’s to hoping the Bucs don’t fall to 0-2 against Daniel Jones on the big stage.
2. Chucky’s Baaaaaccckkk
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Las Vegas Raiders* (Week 7)
Oh yes. The Return of Chucky.
Well, technically, it’s not a return, but you get my drift.
Not only will the Bucs face off against the only coach to bring the Lombardi trophy home, but they will take on the Raiders in their brand new, state-of-the-art stadium.
In case you haven’t seen it, it basically looks like a 2020 version of the Death Star. I mean, it’s quintessential Raiders.
Mark Davis’ new $1.9 billion dollar home will be the perfect setting for a showdown between two teams looking to return to their early-2000s form.
And isn’t just wild that Oakland traded Gruden to Tampa Bay just to watch him win a Super Bowl in the first year and now Gruden is back on the sidelines for the Silver & Black?
This will also be the first of three straight - yes you read that right - primetime games for the Bucs, as they face off against the Grudinites on Sunday Night Football.
Life is wild, y’all.
1. The Super Bowl Champions Come To Town
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Week 12)
Believe it or not: the Chiefs have lost the last five matchups to the Bucs and haven’t beaten Tampa Bay since 1993.
That’s pretty crazy. What makes things even more interesting is that the Chiefs are just one of the four teams in the NFL who have a losing record against the Bucs.
Wait, what am I talking about? No one cares about the history of this series.
What people actually care about is Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid vs. Bruce Arians and all of the other matchups within this game. I mean, the frickin’ defending Super Bowl champs are coming to Raymond James Stadium. Can you get more hype for a game?
If all goes to plan for both teams, then this matchup will feature some major fireworks. Not only do both teams boast some of the best offensive firepower in the league, but Brady’s Patriots averaged 27 points per game when they played the Chiefs. On the other hand, Mahomes’ Chiefs have averaged 33 points per game when facing off against Brady.
Get the popcorn ready, folks. This will be a fun one.
*denotes primetime games
What games intrigue you the most? Let us know via the poll/comments below!
Which games intrigue you the most in 2020?
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