Not long after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wrapped up their 31-15 Wild Card win over the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon, the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys kicked off their own tilt in the opening round of the playoffs. The outcome of that game will determine who is coming to Raymond James Stadium next weekend for a Divisional Playoff Game against the Buccaneers.
As the second seed in the NFC playoff field, the Bucs were guaranteed a second home game if they won their first. The Green Bay Packers, who had the only first-round bye in the conference, get a home game against the lowest remaining seed in the next round. If Dallas beats San Francisco, that means the lowest seed will be the winner of #5 Arizona against #4 Los Angeles on Monday night.
If the #6 49ers beat the #3 Cowboys, San Francisco will be the lowest remaining seed and will earn a trip to Lambeau Field in the Divisional Round. That would then send the winner of the Cardinals-Rams game to Raymond James Stadium, in game to be played on either Saturday, January 22 or Sunday, January 23.
A Buccaneers-Dallas game would be a rematch of the very first game of the NFL season. The defending Super Bowl champion Buccaneers drew the annual Kickoff Game at home, in this case against the Cowboys, and it proved to be a thrilling start to the season. The Buccaneers won, 31-29, on a last second Ryan Succop field goal after yet another crunch time drive by Tom Brady. The game included 882 yards of offense, which in retrospect is no surprise given that the Dallas and Tampa Bay ended up first and second in points scored during the regular season.
A Rams-Bucs game in the Divisional Round would also be a 2021 rematch. Los Angeles dealt the Bucs their first and one of only four losses in the regular season in Week Three. Playing for the first time in SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, the Buccaneers dropped a 34-24 decision with the Rams' Matthew Stafford throwing for 343 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. The Buccaneers and Cardinals did not play during the 2021 regular season.