LB Derrick Brooks and the Bucs will go head to head with the Eagles to finish out the regular season in prime time
Last season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers hoped to play into January, but the Philadelphia Eagles ended that dream with a Wild Card defeat on New Year's Eve.
This year, the Bucs will once again end the season on national television against the Eagles – the regular season, that is. The result could impact both team's playoff hopes.
On Wednesday, the National Football League announced updated kickoff times for the final weekend of the regular season, which now falls on January 6-7. The NFL's full slate of games originally scheduled for the weekend of September 16-17 was postponed after the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11.
The Bucs were originally scheduled to play the Eagles on September 16 at Raymond James Stadium, with a kickoff time of 1:00 p.m. That game will now be played on January 6 at 8:30 p.m. and will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. The game that was originally going to air on ESPN's Sunday Night series on September 16 was Cleveland at Pittsburgh.
The only prime-time games for the Buccaneers on their original schedule, announced in March, were an ABC Monday Night game at St. Louis on November 26 and an ABC Saturday Night game at home against Baltimore on December 29. The Bucs will now finish the regular season with consecutive, prime-time home tilts.
The NFL's playoff schedule will begin the next weekend, with Wild Card games on January 12-13. The Divisional Playoff round will fall on the weekend of January 19-20 and the Conference Championship games are set for January 27. Super Bowl XXXVI, which was originally scheduled for the 27th, will now be held on February 3.