Tampa Bay Buccaneers

2020 NFL Schedule to Be Released Thursday Night

The 2020 season will be set when the full 256-game schedule is announced Thursday night. The coming season will see the Bucs take on both the AFC West and NFC North divisions, as well as a trip to New York and visits from both L.A. teams. 

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, along with the rest of the league, will find out their 2020 schedule at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday night. NFL Network will air a three-hour 'Schedule Release '20' show, which will break down the coming schedule division-by-division and analyze the top matchups along with primetime games.

Last season, the NFL's final standings resulted in the New York Giants getting a trip to Tampa. Now the same scheduling formula is sending the Buccaneers to New York for a rematch.

The NFL's scheduling formula, based on rotating division matchups, means that teams can know years in advance who will they be playing the next season, even before the league releases its full schedule in the spring. The Buccaneers, for instance, know that they will play all the teams in the NFC North and the AFC West in 2020, and they know where they will play them based on where the game was held the last time through each rotation. That's eight of the 16 games, and another six are obviously occupied by home-and-away series against the Buccaneers' opponents in their own division.

That leaves two games that are determined by the previous year's standings. Each year, the Buccaneers have four games against the NFC division that the NFC South is paired with, plus one game each against an opponent in the two other divisions in the conference. Those two games are determined by matching the division standings; the team in first in the South plays the team in first in the other two divisions, and so on.

The Buccaneers finished third in the NFC South after falling to 7-9 with the season-ending loss to Atlanta. Tampa Bay and Atlanta finished with identical records but the Falcons captured second place in the division thanks to a better record against NFC South foes. The Buccaneers thus get a home game against the third-place team in the NFC West – the Los Angeles Rams – and a visit to the Giants, who came in third in the NFC East. That produces the following opponent list for 2019:


  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Los Angeles Chargers
  • Los Angeles Rams
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • New Orleans Saints


  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Chicago Bears
  • Denver Broncos
  • Detroit Lions
  • Las Vegas Raiders
  • New Orleans Saints
  • New York Giants

Tampa Bay's 2020 schedule includes five games against 2019 playoff teams, including the home-and-away set with New Orleans. The Saints won the NFC South; the Buccaneers will also play the winners of the AFC West (Kansas City) and the NFC North (Green Bay) while taking on Wild Card entrant Minnesota. Half of the Buccaneers' 2020 home slate will be against reigning playoff teams (Chiefs, Packers, Saints and Vikings).

The Chargers and Chiefs will play in Tampa for the first time since 2012, which is how the eight-year, home-and-away rotation works with the AFC divisions. In that 2012 season, the Buccaneers beat both of those AFC West teams at Raymond James Stadium, and Tampa Bay happens to have a two-game winning streak against the Chargers and a five-game winning streak against the Chiefs.

Contrastingly, the Buccaneers and Giants will play for the fourth year in a row and the fifth time in a six-season span. The Giants have won four of the last five, including the Week Three game in 2019 in which a missed 32-yard field goal gave New York a 32-31 victory. Each of the last three games in the series has been decided by three points or fewer.