The 2020 Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set for maximum prime-time exposure.
The NFL released its full, 256-game regular-season schedule for 2020 on Thursday, and the highlights for Tampa Bay include five nationally-televised evening games, the most the franchise has ever played in a single season. This is obviously the result of a dramatic offseason in which the Buccaneers signed quarterback Tom Brady in free agency among a number of other moves aimed at chasing a Super Bowl championship.
The full schedule can be found below.
Brady and the Buccaneers will be featured on two Monday Night Football games on ESPN and two Sunday Night Football contests on NBC, as well as a Thursday night affair on NFL Network. Before 2020, the most prime-time games Tampa Bay has ever played was in 2003, when the defending Super Bowl XXXVII champs were featured on two Monday night games and two Sunday night games.
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Moreover, those five prime-time outings are bunched over perhaps the most incredible seven-week span in team history. The Buccaneers begin their night-game run in Week Five at Chicago and then play nationally-televised games at Las Vegas in Week Seven, at the New York Giants in Week Eight, at home against New Orleans in Week Nine and at home against the Los Angeles Rams in Week 11.
Tampa Bay's 2020 schedule is loaded with premium matchups between Brady and some of the league's top passers. In fact, the season begins with a trip to New Orleans, which will feature the NFL's two all-time leaders in passing yards and touchdown passes as Brady takes on Drew Brees. A Week 12 visit from the defending Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs will set up a Brady-Patrick Mahomes showdown, and the Bucs schedule also includes games against Green Bay's Aaron Rodgers, Atlanta's Matt Ryan and Detroit's Matthew Stafford.
Below is the Buccaneers' 2020 game schedule, followed by more notes (all times Eastern):
|Sun.||Sept. 13||at New Orleans||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Sept. 20||CAROLINA||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Sept. 27||at Denver||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Oct. 4||L.A. CHARGERS||1:00 PM||CBS|
|Thurs.||Oct. 8||at Chicago||8:20 PM||FOX/NFLN/AMZN|
|Sun.||Oct. 18||GREEN BAY||4:25 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Oct. 25||at Las Vegas||4:05 PM||FOX|
|Mon.||Nov. 2||at N.Y. Giants||8:15 PM||ESPN|
|Sun.||Nov. 8||NEW ORLEANS||8:20 PM||NBC|
|Sun.||Nov. 15||at Carolina||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Mon.||Nov. 23||L.A. RAMS||8:15 PM||ESPN|
|Sun.||Nov. 29||KANSAS CITY||4:25 PM||CBS|
|Sun.||Dec. 13||MINNESOTA||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sun.||Dec. 20||at Atlanta||1:00 PM||FOX|
|Sat./Sun.||Dec. 26/27||at Detroit||TBD||TBD|
|Sun.||Jan. 3||ATLANTA||1:00 PM||FOX|
- All times Eastern and subject to change.
- NFL Network and Amazon broadcast subject to change.
- All Sunday afternoon games in Weeks 5-17 are subject to time changes as part of NFL's flex scheduling format. Flex scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights. From Weeks 5-10 games can only be moved in a total of two of those weeks.
- A select number of games may also be "cross-flexed" between CBS and FOX.
View photos of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers roster as it currently stands.
Here are some additional notes regarding the Buccaneers' 2020 schedule:
- As was the case a year ago, the Buccaneers have a late-December game that will see it's date and time finalized at a later date. The Bucs and Lions will play their Week 16 game either on Saturday, Dec. 26 or Sunday, Dec. 27. The network that airs the game will depend upon when it is ultimately scheduled.
- The Buccaneers are scheduled for multiple Monday Night Football games for the first time since their title-defense season of 2003. Tampa Bay was on the MNF stage three times that year, beating Philadelphia in Week One and the New York Giants in Week 12 and falling to Indianapolis in Week Five. Tampa Bay also played multiple Monday night games in 2002, 2000 and 1998.
- Tampa Bay will be part of the NFL's last group of teams to have their bye week in 2020. The Buccaneers' Week 13 bye is by far their latest since the concept was introduced in 1990 and Tampa Bay had Week 14 off. Since then, the Bucs latest bye has been in Week 10, on four occasions. The 2017 Buccaneers were originally scheduled to have Week 11 off but Hurricane Irma forced the NFL to push the Tampa Bay-Miami Game from Week One to that original bye.
- The Buccaneers open their season in New Orleans for the second time in the last three years. Tampa Bay opened its 2018 campaign with a wild 48-40 shootout win in the Louisiana Superdome that stands as the highest-scoring Week One game in NFL history.
- The 2020 season will be the third one in a row that will conclude with a home game against division-rival Atlanta. The last two have been extremely close games, both won by the visiting Falcons. Atlanta won, 34-32, at Raymond James Stadium to close out 2018 when Matt Bryant hit a 37-yard field goal as time expired. Last season, the Bucs and Falcons went into overtime in Week 17 before linebacker Deion Jones won it with a pick-six on the first play of the extra period. This is the first time the Buccaneers have ever finished three straight regular seasons against the same opponent.
- After their Week One trip to New Orleans, the Bucs will play their home opener against Carolina. This marks the first time since 2008 that Tampa Bay will begin its season with two straight NFC South division opponents.
- The Buccaneers won't have any serious cold-weather concerns in 2020. They travel to Denver in September and Chicago in early October, followed by midseason games at Las Vegas and New York. Tampa Bay's last outdoor road game of 2020 is at Carolina on Nov. 15. The team's last two road contests will be played inside domes in Atlanta and Detroit.
- The Bucs will play four of their last six games at home in 2020, a stretch broken up by a Week 13 bye. The last time that Tampa Bay was originally scheduled to play four of its last six games at home was in 1981. A players' strike in 1982 resulted in a reformulated schedule that saw the Bucs finish with four of six at home, and the 9/11 terrorist strikes of 2001 also rearranged the final weeks into a similar finish for Tampa Bay.
- The Buccaneers will play host to the defending-champion Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Nov. 29. This will mark the fourth time in the last five seasons that the reigning Super Bowl champs will visit Raymond James Stadium. The Buccaneers beat the defending-champion Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 but lost to the New England Patriots in 2017 and the Denver Broncos in 2016.