The NFL schedule has finally been released. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are set to star in five primetime games and four late afternoon Fox matchups. A stark difference from only one Thursday night football game last season, but that is the Tom Brady effect.
We will go through each game, week by week, and predict a final season record. Lets jump in.
Week:1 Bucs at Saints, 4:25 Fox
The Buccaneers head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the New Orleans Saints in week one. While it might seem like a tough task, the Saints have historically struggled in week one, and in September in general.
In the Sean Payton era, the Saints are 6-7 in week one, 4-3 in home games. Still not convinced, the Saints are 0-2 against the Buccaneers in September dating back to 2015, and 7-10 in all games within the first month.
Tom Brady and the Buccaneers will continue this trend, and beat the Saints to start a new era in Tampa Bay.
Week: 2, Bucs vs Panthers, 1:00 Fox
The Buccaneers home opener will come against Teddy Bridgewater and the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers offense will flow through Christian McCaffrey, but the Buccaneers shut him down in both matchups last season.
Carolina’s defense isn’t particularly exciting either. The loss of Luke Kuechly is a massive blow, and I don’t think the Panthers have the defense to stop this high powered offense. Divisional matchups are always tough, but Tampa Bay should be able to excite fans with a win at home.
Week: 3, Bucs at Broncos, 4:25 Fox
Tom Brady has had success in almost every stadium and city in the NFL. Unfortunately, Denver is not one of the cities, dating back to 2005, the Patriots are 4-6 against the Broncos on the road, playoff games included.
I don’t know if it’s the altitude or historically good defenses but Tom Brady just can’t get it done in Mile High Stadium. The Broncos are an up and coming team with quarterback Drew Lock and this offseason also gave him some solid weapons in Jerry Jeudy and Melvin Gordon.
Oh and bye the way, the Broncos defense defense is still solid led by Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. This game will come down to offensive line play, but unfortunately, I think the Broncos hand the Buccaneers their first loss of the season.
Week: 4, Bucs vs Chargers, 1:00 CBS
The Buccaneers have been historically bad against backup and rookie quarterbacks. But this is not the same defense of the Mike Smith era. In fact, Tampa Bay had one of the most efficient defenses towards the end of the season last year.
It is unclear if Justin Herbert or Tyrod Taylor will get the start, but I would guess the Chargers want to ease in the rookie. Los Angeles has a solid defense led by Joey Bosa and Derwin James, but the Buccaneers have more weapons than they can handle.
Again, I think this game comes down to the offensive line. A bounce back game gives the Buccaneers another win in front of their home crowd.
Week: 5, Bucs at Bears, 8:20 Fox
Coming off of a short week, the Buccaneers are faced with a tough offensive challenge. The Chicago Bears’ defense is no joke, and this game will likely come down to the ability to slow down Khalil Mack.
Mitchell Trubisky tore up the Buccaneers in 2018, but I would be shocked to see this happen against Todd Bowles. Neither him nor Nick Foles scare me, and Chicago has a mediocre offensive line that should get eaten up by Shaq Barrett and company. The Buccaneers pick up another victory under the lights.
Week: 6, Bucs vs Packers, 4:25 Fox
Tom Brady against Aaron Rodgers is must see T.V. It was a surprise to see this game not in a primetime slot, but most of the country will still be watching in the evening window.
Truthfully, I don’t think the Packers will be a great team in 2020. They did nothing to address the lack of weapons for Rodgers besides drafting A.J. Dillon in the second round. The Packers defense may seem like a threat with the Smith brothers, but they fell off in the second half of the season in 2019.
Tampa Bay will light up the scoreboard in front of their home fans once again for a huge NFC victory.
Week: 7, Bucs at Raiders, 8:20 NBC
After three straight victories, the 5-1 Buccaneers are flying high heading to Las Vegas. I think this could be another trap game. Jon Gruden always has tough teams who play down to the wire, no matter the opponent.
Derrick Carr and Marcus Mariota aren’t threatening quarterbacks, but the Raiders did add weapons in the draft with Henry Ruggs. This will be a closer game than people think, but I have the Buccaneers skating by in a close one.
Week: 8, Bucs at Giants, 8:15 ESPN
Ah the Daniel Jones revenge game. We all remember how the Buccaneers lost in tragic fashion last season. A blown lead in the second half and a missed kick by Matt Gay felt like a gut punch to all of Tampa Bay.
Not this time around.
I predict the Giants to be one of the worst teams in the NFL in 2020. Saquan Barkley is the only weapon for New York, and we all know how the Buccaneers front seven handled the rushing attack in 2019. This game will be a blowout on Monday Night Football
Week: 9, Bucs vs Saints, 8:20 NBC
The Buccaneers bested the Saints in their own building week one, but it will be difficult to land a sweep against Drew Brees and company.
The Saints are one of the best teams in the NFL, and will contend in the playoffs once again. If my predictions hold true through the first half of the season thought, Tampa Bay will be sitting atop the division.
Sean Payton will get his revenge this time around, beating the Buccaneers in primetime.
Week: 10, Bucs at Panthers, 1:00 Fox
The Buccaneers beat the Panthers the first time around, and I don’t expect a different result in week nine. Carolina lost many cornerstone players to free agency and retirement, and Teddy Bridgewater will rely on Christian McCaffrey to get the offense moving.
Todd Bowles defense will figure out how to stop the one man show to completely shut down Carolina’s rushing attack. This should be another easy victory, even if divisional games are always a challenge.
Week: 11, Bucs vs Rams, 8:15 ESPN
In the last primetime game of the season, the Rams will travel to town in what I expect to be another down season for Sean McVay. Los Angeles is a shell of themselves since losing to the Patriots in the Superbowl, and their “win now” approach will continue to cause a downward spiral.
Jared Goff is an average quarterback in my opinion. Without a strong offensive line, he will struggle to get the offensive moving. The addition of Cam Akers should help, but it won’t be enough.
The Rams defense still has star studded names in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey, but the Buccaneers shut down Donald in their 2019 meeting. Tampa Bay will get another win to secure their ninth victory of the season.
Week: 12, Bucs vs Chiefs, 4:25 CBS
Patrick Mahomes and the Superbowl champions come to town to take on the new look Buccaneers offense. The last time the Chiefs and the Buccaneers squared off was in 2016, where Tampa Bay won off the backs of Roberto Aguayo and Chris Conte.
Oh how fast things have changed.
The Chiefs have arguably the best offense in the league, and it will be a tough task for this young secondary to handle. I expect a high scoring matchup, but in the end, Kansas City will come out on top.
Week: 14, Bucs vs Vikings, 1:00 Fox
After some much needed rest in a week 13 bye, Tampa Bay will face the Vikings at home in a pivotal NFC matchup.
The Vikings are also a tough team, and will try to beat down the defense with Dalvin Cook. The script will be much the same as 2019 though, as the Buccaneers front seven will shut down the run, and force the opposition to pass.
This is where Kirk Cousins will make an inevitable mistake, and hand the Buccaneers a victory. Mike Evans and Chris Godwin will also have huge days against a solid Minnesota defense.
Week: 15, Bucs at Falcons, 1:00 Fox
Divisional games are never easy to win in the NFL. While I don’t expect the Falcons to be a particularly good football team, I think they will play the Buccaneers in a close game.
Tampa Bay will have no answer for Julio Jones, as he has historically carved up the Buccaneers secondary. The Falcons are also healthy on defense once again, and Deion Jones, Tak McKinley and Keanu Neal will slow down Tampa Bay’s explosive offense.
There is always a divisional game that will not go as expected, I think this will be one of those games.
Week: 16, Bucs at Lions, TBD
The Buccaneers bested the Lions last year after a Sean Murphy-Bunting house call, but that was without Mathew Stafford. Stafford is an above average quarterback, and should see some relief with the addition of D’Andre Swift.
Jeffrey Okudah is also a shutdown corner at the next level, but these additions simply won’t be enough for to beat a Buccaneers team looking to win the division. Tampa Bay will get a win over Detroit for the second straight season.
Week: 17, Bucs vs Falcons, 1:00 Fox
It seems as though we see this matchup in week 17 every season. in 2019, Jameis Winston threw an interception in overtime to give the Buccaneers another losing season.
But urgency is on Tampa Bay’s side this time around, as Bruce Arians is eyeing the first divisional title in over a decade. The Buccaneers will get their revenge in a blowout, tying their best season since the 2002 Superbowl team went 12-4.