The NFL schedule comes out Wednesday with the Buccaneers set to open the regular season on September 9th but the biggest question is who their opponent will be. While some including, our own Evan Winter, believe it will be the Buffalo Bills opening the season at Raymond James. I have a different hypothesis and one that should make you a little uneasy as a Bucs fan.
If Not Buffalo Then Who?
With the addition of a 17th game also comes the addition of two extra primetime games teams are eligible for. Keeping that in mind does it make sense to “waste” one of those potential marquee primetime games with the Bills to open the season? My thoughts are no, it does not. So, if that’s the case who makes the most sense as an opponent to kick off the season with.
Enter the team the Bucs opened up against last year, albeit on the road.
Now I get it these aren’t the Drew Brees led saints of old and there are some questions as who the quarterback will be to start the season. But all the storylines are there. Is Jameis Winston named the starting quarterback out of training camp? If so, that gives the game some extra juice. What about the rivalry between Mike Evans and Marshon Lattimore? Cam Jordan and his comments about Donovan Smith. The fact that the Saints swept the Bucs last year in the regular season. Most will agree this Buccaneers team is in a better position to win the division, but the Saints have had a stranglehold on it the past few years.
Sure, the Bucs had the last laugh in the playoffs, but these are two teams that really don’t like each other. What better way to start the season with a good interdivision rivalry? In a game that with the information these two teams have on each other could be a lot closer than one would want as a Bucs fan. Not to mention the flexibility it gives the NFL to schedule the Buccaneers near the max seven primetime games, keeping a marquee Bills or Cowboys home game on the docket for later in the season.
Buccaneers In Primetime
As I See it the Buccaneers should have at least 5 guaranteed primetime games in the Patriots, Rams, Bills, Cowboys, and Saints. That doesn’t include the Thursday night game which could be against the Dolphins, Bears or Giants. Don’t get me wrong I think having the Bills coming to Tampa could be an amazing start to the season but to me the Saints make the most sense to allow the NFL to remain scheduling flexibility with the other marquee games on what is a rather light Buccaneers’ schedule.
That’s my pick lock it in Saints vs. Bucs to open the 2021 NFL season.