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. Bucs mull options at right tackle as Dotson awaits MRI

    Bucs

    Right tackle Demar Dotson, the Bucs' most experienced offensive lineman, will undergo an MRI on his injured groin Saturday, three weeks before the season opener.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneer Demar Dotson, offensive tackle, brought his coffee and breakfast to One Buc Place, 7/31/15, as he reported to training camp.
  2. For starters: Rays vs. Mariners, with another new look

    Blogs

    Having lost 11 of their last 14 games and dropping to a season-worst four games under .500 at 60-64, the Rays continue to search for ways to get out of their extended offensive slump.

    And with the M's starting LHP Ariel Miranda today, that means another new look to the lineup, which includes having struggling …

  3. Chasing 125: Bucs hope to hit rushing goal more often

    Bucs

    Ever so often, Bucs coach Dirk Koetter pulls back the curtain a bit and shares some of the stats that matter to him most as a coach.

    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.
  4. Bucs-Jaguars was NFL's lowest-rated ESPN game since 2005

    Bucs

    It is just the preseason, and it is the Jaguars, but Thursday night's Bucs-Jags preseason game earned a 1.6 rating on ESPN, which is the lowest-rated preseason game (excluding NFL Network) in 12 years, according to Sports Media Watch.

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, left, talks with coach Dirk Koetter during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Thursday, Aug. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
  5. Roberto Aguayo, Jonathan Drouin, Tim Beckham are coming for revenge

    Bucs

    Forget the Three Tenors.

    Make it the Three Terrors.

    The 2017 Unfulfilled Expectations Tour is about to hit Tampa Bay.

    From left, former Bucs kicker Roberto Aguayo, ex-Lightning forward Jonathan Drouin and former Rays infielder Tim Beckham. [LOREN ELLIOTT | Times; DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times; Getty Images]