The NFL released its full 2022 regular-season schedule on Thursday night and for third year in a row the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be featured in five prime-time contests. With their recent victory in Super Bowl LV, their 29-10 record over the past two seasons and the continued presence of one Tom Brady, the Buccaneers have clearly become of the NFL's biggest draws.
That is most clearly reflected in the trio of Sunday night games the Buccaneers will play this fall, beginning with a Week One trip to Dallas. Tampa Bay will also make Sunday Night Football appearances at home against Kansas City in Week Four and on Christmas in Week 16. This marks the first time in franchise history that the Buccaneers will play three Sunday Night Football games in the same season. From 2009-19, prior to Brady's arrival, Tampa Bay was included in just one Sunday night game. They have had seven such assignments since, though one of their 2020 Sunday-nighters, at Las Vegas, was eventually moved to the afternoon due to COVID-19 complications.
The Buccaneers' 2022 schedule also features one Monday night game and one Thursday night game, both at home. They will play host to the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday, October 27 in Week Eight and to the New Orleans Saints on Monday, December 5 in Week 13.
In addition to their five prime-time games, the Bucs are also the designated team in the first NFL game ever played in Germany. They will face the Seattle Seahawks on November 13 in Week 10 at Allianz Arena in Munich, which will replace the club's ninth home game.
As noted, Tampa Bay's first prime-time slot kicks off its season. The Buccaneers will visit the Cowboys' AT&T Stadium on September 11 at 8:20 ET on NBC. The game will feature America's beloved quarterback against 'America's Team' in a special tribute game, honoring those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Both will take center stage as the 2022 season commences in a few months. The Buccaneers and Cowboys also met in prime time in Week One of last season, with Tampa Bay winning a 31-29 thriller in the NFL's annual Kickoff Game. Dallas and Tampa Bay would go on to rank first and second in the NFL, respectively, in points scored in 2021.
The Bucs' second prime-time game is one to circle on the calendar, as it is the sixth meeting between the G.O.A.T., Tom Brady and his potential successor, Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs will come to town to face off against the Bucs at Raymond James Stadium on October 2 at 8:20 ET on NBC. The game will set up a Super Bowl LV rematch, in the latest installment of a rival that has seen Brady come out on top in three of the five games, including both postseason meetings. In Super Bowl LV, Brady threw three touchdown passes and was deservedly named the game's MVP; however, Todd Bowles and the Bucs' defense deserves a lot of the credit for the dominant 31-9 win, as well. Bowles changed up his blitz-heavy attack and the front four brought consistent pressure, with only 9% of Mahomes' dropbacks met with a blitz. The Bucs were able to sit in a two-high shell defensively and the Chiefs were not able to effectively alter their protection plan.
The Bucs' Week Eight game against the Ravens on Thursday night will be broadcast by Prime Video and should be another intriguing matchup of quarterbacks. The Ravens were the consensus favorite in the AFC North regarding draft grades. They snagged one of the best overall players of the entire draft with safety Kyle Hamilton and then used the 25th overall pick (gained from Arizona in the Marquise Brown trade) to select Tyler Linderbaum, the center technician. Despite a large amount of turnover, Baltimore stuck to their philosophy of selecting the best player available over need and it will likely pay dividends come fall. With dual-threat quarterback Lamar Jackson always a threat to run and Linderbaum creating lanes for the QB and backs, the Ravens will be a good measuring stick game in terms of the run defense in Tampa.
The fourth game on the list is against a divisional foe. The Saints' annual visit to Tampa will get the prime-time treatment for a third year in a row after the two teams played on Sunday Night Football at Raymond James Stadium each of the past two seasons. Tampa Bay players undoubtedly remember the lopsided outcomes of those two games, as the Bucs scored a combined three points in 38-3 and 9-0 defeats. Tom Brady and company will strive to change that narrative after getting swept by the Saints in each of the past three regular seasons. New Orleans spent the draft revamping last year's struggling aerial attack, with receiver Chris Olave and a left tackle to protect Jameis Winston in Trevor Penning. The organization is counting on both to be immediate impact makers. With Sean Payton stepping away from football, former defensive coordinator Dennis Allen was promoted to the Saints' head coach gig. On a similar note, after Bruce Arians moved to a front office, advisory role with the Bucs, Todd Bowles became the new head coach. Two defensive minds going head-to-head is a matchup to anticipate.
Lastly, The Buccaneers will spend Christmas with the Cardinals, with kickoff on NBC scheduled for 8:20 ET. Pour the Egg Nog for this one. The Bucs and Cards make for an exhilarating NFL matchup with several household names on either side. With intensity and competitiveness, these two energetic fanbases will swarm State Farm Stadium. These two teams have been in the mix during the postseason and this game could have serious implications on seeding, although the Cardinals sit in a tough NFC West division. The Cardinals bolstered their offense after making the trade for Marquise Brown and they picked up tight end Trey McBride in the draft, who can complement Zach Ertz in two-tight end sets. Both will be dynamic weapons for Kyler Murray and players for the Bucs' defense to key in on. The most notable being Murray, himself, the escape artist who can throw from any arm angle. Setting the edge for Tampa Bay will be key. This is one you will not want to miss on Christmas night.
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