Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Breaking down Bucs' 2017 schedule

TAMPA — The Bucs' 2017 schedule includes two high-profile games in prime time against last season's Super Bowl teams, with Tom Brady and the defending champion Patriots coming to Tampa on a Thursday in Week 5 and the Bucs hosting the Falcons in a huge Monday night showdown the week before Christmas.

The Bucs open their second season under coach Dirk Koetter on Sept. 10 at Miami. In all, Tampa Bay's schedule, announced Thursday, is unusually skewed, with home games bunched early and late in the year. Three of the first five games are at home, as are three of the last four, creating a tough stretch in the middle of the season with just two home games over 66 days.

The NFC South has sent its champion to the Super Bowl in each of the past two seasons, and if the Bucs are to challenge for the division title this year, they'll need a strong finish. They have three division games to finish the season: against Atlanta on Dec. 18, a Christmas Eve game at Carolina and a season finale at Raymond James Stadium on New Year's Eve against New Orleans.

The Bucs have no division games until Week 9, with all six in the final nine games.

The biggest challenges? Jameis Winston will face a pair of quarterbacks with multiple Super Bowl wins in five days: The Giants and Eli Manning come to Tampa on Oct. 1, and the Patriots and Brady follow on Oct. 5, with a national audience on CBS. What immediately follows is a run of three road games in four weeks, going to Arizona and Buffalo, then home against the Panthers and back on the road to New Orleans for a lap around the country in 22 days.

The Bucs will face seven playoff teams from 2016, four of them in four straight weeks starting in late November: at the Falcons, at the Packers, versus Lions and versus Falcons.

The schedule has some favors for the Bucs. They get their bye week far later than in recent years, in Week 11, giving them an extra week to prepare for a crucial game at Atlanta. They have three extra days to prepare before their longest road trip of the year, to Arizona, where they lost 40-7 last season.

A week after they play at Atlanta, the Bucs will likely face chilly weather as they go to Green Bay to face Aaron Rodgers and the Packers on Dec. 3. How cold might that be? Green Bay had a home game on Dec. 4 last season, and it was 32 degrees at kickoff. The Bucs are 1-10 in Green Bay when the temperature is 48 degrees or lower.

The other potential cold-weather game is at Buffalo, where the Bucs have played just once in their 41 years. But the weather should be a milder on Oct. 22.

Want a reunion? Former Bucs quarterback Mike Glennon, who left as a free agent this offseason, gets a homecoming fast. His new team, the Bears, are Tampa Bay's first home game, in Week 2.

The schedule doesn't have the larger national platform many had thought the Bucs might have. They have just one Monday night game and no Sunday night games (some games later in the season can be flexed to prime time), and in all, 12 of their 16 games have 1 p.m. kickoffs, which draw smaller audiences that later-afternoon games.

Contact Greg Auman at gauman@tampabay.com and (813) 310-2690. Follow @gregauman.

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) takes the field before the start of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.

CHARLIE KAIJO | Times

Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) takes the field before the start of the game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Atlanta Falcons at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Fla., on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016.

Breaking down Bucs' 2017 schedule 04/20/17 [Last modified: Thursday, April 20, 2017 11:37pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Alex Faedo, Florida advance to face LSU in College World Series finals

    College

    OMAHA, Neb. — Alex Faedo pitched three-hit ball for 71/3 innings in a second straight strong performance against TCU, and Florida moved to the College World Series finals with a 3-0 win Saturday night.

    Florida’s Austin Langworthy scores on a single by Mike Rivera in the second inning during a 3-0 victory over TCU.
  2. Jones: Bucs need success to get national respect

    Bucs

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up his Two Cents on the world of sports.

    No respect

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter walks the field during the second day of mandatory minicamp at One Buccaneer Place in Tampa, Fla., on Wednesday, June 14, 2017. LOREN ELLIOTT   |   Times
  3. Rays journal: Jumbo Diaz falters after getting within a strike of ending rally

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Saturday's game got away starting with a leadoff walk in the seventh inning by Rays LHP Jose Alvarado, who was brought in exclusively to face Baltimore's lefty-swinging Seth Smith.

    Rays reliever Jumbo Diaz wipes his face as he walks off the mound after the Orioles score four during the seventh inning to give them a 7-3 lead. Diaz was one strike away from working out of the jam before he allowed a two-run double and a two-run homer on back-to-back pitches.
  4. Rookie Jake Faria dissatisfied with performance in Rays' loss to Orioles

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The rookie pitcher walked to his locker Saturday after tossing the fourth quality start in as many tries to begin his career. He held the potent Orioles bats to three runs and for six innings gave his team a chance to win.

    Orioles third baseman Manny Machado tags out the Rays’ Mallex Smith at third after a rundown in the first inning.
  5. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Saturday's Rays-Orioles game

    The Heater

    It was refreshing to see RHP Jacob Faria take the blame after the loss even though he gave the Rays a chance to win. Too often young pitchers are encouraged by what they did and not necessarily the outcome, but Faria, making just his fourth big-league start, came to the Trop to win, didn't, and pointed the finger …