A year ago at this time -- or even five months ago, frankly -- you'd probably be asking: what is a Boston-based sports website doing writing about the Tampa Bay Buccaneers?
Of course, you know the answer to that at this point. Tom Brady joined the Buccaneers after spending 20 seasons with the New England Patriots, taking them to nine Super Bowls, and winning six titles overall. Now, he'll try to repeat his success away from Foxboro for the first time in his career.
No matter what your feelings are about Brady at this point, one thing is certain. It's going to be really interesting to see what he can do without Bill Belichick and if he can continue to be a great quarterback in a new system. That'll probably be the No. 1 non-Patriots storyline that Patriots fans watch during the 2020 NFL season.
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With that said, here's a viewers' guide to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' season, including their schedule, when they overlap with the Patriots, the best games to watch, and much more.
Week 1: @ New Orleans Saints, 4:25 p.m., FOX
Week 2: vs. Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., FOX
Week 3: @ Denver Broncos, 4:25 p.m., FOX
Week 4: vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 1 p.m., CBS
Week 5: @ Chicago Bears, 8:20 p.m., FOX (Thursday Night Football)
Week 6: vs. Green Bay Packers, 4:25 p.m., FOX
Week 7: @ Las Vegas Raiders, 8:20 p.m., NBC (Sunday Night Football)
Week 8: @ New York Giants, 8:15 p.m., ESPN (Monday Night Football)
Week 9: vs. New Orleans Saints, 8:20 p.m., NBC (SNF)
Week 10: @ Carolina Panthers, 1 p.m., FOX
Week 11: vs. Los Angeles Rams, 8:15 p.m., ESPN (MNF)
Week 12: vs. Kansas City Chiefs, 4:25 p.m., CBS
Week 13: BYE
Week 14: vs. Minnesota Vikings, 1 p.m., FOX
Week 15: @ Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m., FOX
Week 16: @ Detroit Lions, TBD
Week 17: vs. Atlanta Falcons, 1 p.m., FOX
When the Bucs and Patriots overlap
Unbelievably, the Patriots and Bucs only will see games overlap on the schedule twice. This is likely a function of them both getting five prime time games, but fans of the Patriots and Brady will be happy not to have to choose between the two that often. And it seems possible that 15 Bucs games will be available to watch in the Boston market, as pointed out by 506 Sports.
If my analysis of the schedule is correct, you could see up to 15 Bucs games on TV in Boston this year. https://t.co/z7mcSNGQqe— 506 Sports (@506sports) May 8, 2020
Here are the overlapping matchups:
Week 15: Bucs @ Falcons and Patriots @ Dolphins at 1 p.m. This is the Bucs' first game against the Falcons despite it being Week 15. Both teams have good offenses so this could be an entertaining shootout. This is the better of the two games, especially considering the Patriots' propensity for losing games in Miami.
Week 17: Bucs vs. Falcons and Patriots vs. Jets at 1 p.m. With any luck, the NFL will move one of these games to the 4:25p ET slot depending on which division still hangs in the balance. The Patriots will probably need a win more at this point than the Bucs, depending on the AFC East and Wild Card chases, so the Patriots-Jets rivalry game is the one to watch.
Must-see Buccaneers games
Week 1 @ Saints. Obviously, the season opener for the Buccaneers is going to be a big one. They're taking on the Saints in the Superdome, and the Brady-Brees matchup could be an instant classic. It should be a great barometer of how Brady and the Buccaneers offense will fare against the cream of the crop in the NFC and just how well the Bucs can mesh early in the season.
Week 6 vs. Packers. Another duel of great quarterbacks. Brady vs. Aaron Rodgers. Somehow, the two future Hall of Famers have only squared off twice as starters at the NFL level; Rodgers played mop-up in a blowout back in 2006 and missed their 2010 clash with a concussion. The series between the two is tied at 1-1 and both figure to be playoff contenders this season. As a result, this game will mean a lot to both signal callers and should be exciting.
Week 12 vs. Chiefs. Another installment of the Brady/Patrick Mahomes battle? Sign us up. The Patriots were nearly able to tie the Chiefs in come-from-behind fashion last season and if not for a N'Keal Harry touchdown that was incorrectly called out of bounds, the Patriots could've had a chance to send the game to overtime late. This time around, Brady will have better weaponry, but can the Tampa defense contain Mahomes? It could be a shootout at Raymond James Stadium.
Games to skip
Week 10 @ Panthers. This is the one lull in the prime-time streak the Bucs have. It also happens to be a rematch of the Bucs' home opener, though this one will take place in Charlotte. The only problem with this matchup is that the Panthers don't figure to be very good this year. There are likely some other better pregame appetizers ahead of the Patriots-Ravens game on Sunday Night Football.
Week 16 @ Lions. Unless the Lions surprise us, they're not going to be competitive at this point in the season. And though Brady and Co. may be playing for a playoff spot, they could crush the Lions if Detroit isn't motivated.
Prime-time Bucs games
Week 5 @ Bears. The Bucs draw one of the earliest Thursday Night Football dates of the year. This could be a rematch of Super Bowl 52 if Nick Foles is the starter for Chicago. Foles and the Eagles beat Brady's Patriots in a shootout to take home the Lombardi in the Winter of 2018.
Week 7 @ Raiders. Brady gets a chance to travel to Vegas to take on the Raiders. He'll look to put on a flashy display in the Raiders' new digs.
Week 8 @ Giants. Another prime-time game, another chance for Brady to get revenge on a team that has proven to be his kryptonite in the Super Bowl. He'll look to outduel Daniel Jones and the new-look Giants under former Patriots special teams coordinator turned Giants head coach, Joe Judge.
Week 9 vs. Saints. Three straight prime-time games for Brady and Co.? It goes to show how important star-power at quarterback is. This one has two stars and Brady and Brees will square off in front of the Tampa Bay fans in a rematch of their Week 1 clash.
Week 11 vs. Rams. The Rams will come to town as Brady looks to beat the offensive guru who the Patriots knocked off in Super Bowl 53, Sean McVay. This time, Brady will hope to generate more than 13 points against the Rams defense with his new team.
There aren't any particularly brutal stretches on the Buccaneers' schedule this year. But one three-game window stands out as one that could be more troublesome than some may anticipate.
The Bucs have three consecutive prime-time games from Week 7 to Week 9. The Raiders and Giants aren't particularly tough opponents, but Vegas is sure to be rowdy for a prime-time game. And while the Giants on Monday night in the Meadowlands shouldn't be too bad, Brady and the Bucs might be a bit worn out after coming back from Vegas. Luckily, they have an extra day to recover before the Monday clash.
But after that, the Bucs have a short week ahead of their Sunday Night Football matchup with their rival, the Saints. That should be a good game, but it may be a must-win contest if they can't beat the Saints in Week 1 and want to stay in the race for the divisional crown.