For the first time since 2007, the Buccaneers are going to the playoffs, clinching a wild card spot in the postseason with last week’s 47-7 win at Detroit and holding on to the fifth seed with a 44-27 win over Atlanta. Now the team’s first-round playoff opponent is known.

Tampa Bay will travel to the nation’s capital to play Washington on Saturday, January 9 in prime time at 8:15 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on NBC.

The Bucs haven’t fared well in prime time games this year with a 1-3 record in nationally televised night games. Tampa Bay lost at home to the Los Angeles Rams and New Orleans, and on the road at Chicago. The Bucs’ lone prime time victory came at New York against the Giants on Monday Night Football.

Washington, which finished 7-9 after beating Philadelphia on Sunday Night Football, 20-14, holds a 12-11 lead in the series against Tampa Bay, winning the last two games versus the Bucs, 31-30 in 2015 and 13-3 in 2018.

Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and LT Donovan Smith
Former Bucs QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and LT Donovan Smith – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR

The team formerly known as the Redskins has split its two games against the Bucs in the playoffs. In 1999, Tampa Bay beat Washington at Raymond James Stadium, 14-13, in the divisional round of the playoffs. The Redskins upset the Bucs, 17-10, at Ray-Jay in the wild card round of the playoffs in 2005.

Next Saturday’s game won’t be the last time these two teams will meet in the near future. By virtue of the NFC South and NFC East divisions playing each other next year, Tampa Bay will travel to Washington again during the 2021 regular season.

The NFL didn’t do Tampa Bay any favors by scheduling the Bucs’ first-round playoff game on Saturday, as the team likely won’t get inside linebacker Devin White back for the wild card round, as the NFL mandates a 10-day quarantine period for a positive COVID-19 test. White tested positive on Thursday and missed Sunday’s 44-27 win against Atlanta. Had the Bucs been slotted for a Sunday playoff game White could have been eligible to return.

Playing on Saturday as opposed to Sunday also gives Tampa Bay wide receiver Mike Evans, who suffered a hyper-extended knee injury against the Falcons, one day less to heal and recover. The Bucs are cautiously optimistic that Evans might be available for Saturday’s wild card game and have not ruled him out.

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About the Author: Scott Reynolds

Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: sr@pewterreport.com
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Lawdy
16 days ago

i jus hope jon ledyard picks the bucs to win

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bucballer
16 days ago

Doesn’t really matter who we play. We have to play our game. Execute on offense and hope defense comes into game with their “A” game. Let’s do this! Go Bucs!

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RW
RW
16 days ago

Playing the WFT will be like the Bears game. The WFT offense will dink and dunk down the field with lots of short passes. Need to get pressure on Smith and cover the flats.
Their D line is really good so the Bucs O-line will have to work their butts off to give Brady time to throw. Watch for a lot of quick passes on 1st down and quite a few play action passes by Brady to counter the rush. Rojo will get 15- 20 carries.

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Spruce
Reply to  RW
15 days ago

Immobile QB, a mediocre offensive line, exceptional pass rushers spells a very hard day for Brady. You’re right, gotta game plan for continuing, unrelenting pressure. It’s Brady’s weakness. Look for balls to be sailing out of bounds a lot.

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BigSombrero
16 days ago

Bucs will advance in a Saturday night laugher against the WFT.

If the Saints and Seahawks take care of business, the Bucs have the easiest possible path to the Super Bowl. They would face the Packers in round 2 and the winner of Saints/Seahawks for the NFC Championship. Saints could lose against Chicago or Seattle and make the path even easier.

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RW
RW
Reply to  BigSombrero
16 days ago

Hey BS How do you think Brady has been doing these last 3 games?

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BigSombrero
Reply to  RW
15 days ago

For the most part…very efficient and accurate.

I know it’s been against losing teams. Atlanta twice, Detroit without Stafford or coaches, and Minnesota after the bye aren’t a murderers row, but he hasn’t played down to the competition. One bad half in the first Atlanta game, but otherwise sterling.

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PewterHeart
Reply to  BigSombrero
16 days ago

I’m with that Big S.! Watched the Philly and Washington game and my only concern was young and sweat. A. Smith will be obliterated proper against our D. And Rojos carry numbers will decide the game, that’s a tough kid. I do see an upset with N.O. crapping the bed, but we’ll shall see!

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Buc stops here
Reply to  BigSombrero
15 days ago

Bucs should win but two caveats. One is that Ron Rivera was expected to lose with the 7-8-1 Panthers in 2014 but he won (now coaching the 7-9 Redskins). So did the 7-9 Seahawks in 2010. Bucs will break a record if they do win (past results have no impact on future). Second more serious caveat – unless the Bucs play more max protect (hold back a TE to block) and play-action (which they finally started doing more these last three weeks), Brady is going to be pressured heavily. The front 7 in Washington’s defense is the best in the… Read more »

WeAretheChamps2002
16 days ago

Ugh oh, another night game! The Bucs better prepare for cold weather and at night. So far, night games = automatic loss. Nothing would be more embarrassing than to lose to DC.

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HomerSimpsonRocks
16 days ago

Max protect, quick, short passes. Lots of running. Park an extra lineman next to Smith and always keep a back in. None of this “everyone go long” crap. Gotta keep Brady alive.

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surferdudes
16 days ago

Had Philly won, they would’ve had the 10th pick in the draft. By losing, they move to the 6th pick, big difference. When Peterson pulled Hurts, he intentionally tanked. He keeps Hurts in, they win. Even with all that, Philly only needed one T.D. to win, and the WFT almost allowed that to happen. We should kill these guys.

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Spruce
16 days ago

The good news is that it’s on to Washington as Tony Dungy predicts that the Bucs have the weapons to not only advance but to go right through Green Bay to the Super Bowl. Hold on there Tony. First things first. I’d be concerned about an immobile Brady, a suspect offensive line and that pretty terrific Washington defensive line that chased the Philly QB’s all over the place. No risk it no biscuit may have to be put on the back burner on this one. If you can get past that and all the wild card games fall to the… Read more »

Dave
Reply to  Spruce
16 days ago

What does being mobile have to do with anything? Brady doesn’t need to be a runner. He just needs to have pocket mobility, which hes one of the best of all time at. And the combination of Brady’s pocket mobility, him getting the ball out quick, and our OLine(which I do not at all, think is suspect), I think we can game plan to counter their pass rush. There’s a reason why Brady only got sacked 21 times in 16 games. Brady/OLine’s ability to avoid sacks, is every bit as good as the WFT’s ability to get sacks

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Spruce
Reply to  Dave
15 days ago

Ya I’m putting a pin in that one. Washington is anything but a well rounded team. However that defensive line and especially the edge rushers are special. Clearly you’ve never seen Brady’s main weakness at play. Relentless pressure. On Sunday Hurts was under pressure constantly and in many cases running for his life. Moving around in the pocket doesn’t mean anything when there is no pocket. The 21 sacks accumulated from a very weak schedule. Moreover there are pressure’s as well and Brady is known to sail passes out of bounds to avoid sacks. I’m fairly sure the Bucs will… Read more »

RW
RW
Reply to  Spruce
15 days ago

If you watched the Sunday night game closely you could see Hurts always bailing out to his right side and leaving himself nowhere to throw to. His inexperience showed. Brady will let his tackles push Sweat and Young to the outside and he will step up and make the throws. he also will throw quickly to the wideots on screens to counter the rush. And last watch for Rojo to have a big game going over 100 yards.

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Dave
Reply to  RW
15 days ago

Seriously. We’re comparing what a rookie with 5 career starts did against them. Brady has 299 career starts, and has seen everything. Jalen Hurts just further proved that mobility means NOTHING. Good pocket mobility, quick decisions, diagnosing the defense at the line in order to put the offense in the right play, and getting the ball out quickly, is what beats that pash rush. Comparing that to a run first rookie QB is laughable

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Dave
Reply to  Spruce
15 days ago

Comparing what Jalen Hurts did against the WFT, versus what Brady will do is pretty comical. And clearly, you haven’t seen Brady’s strengths at play… reading the defense pre-snap, quick decisions, and getting the ball out quickly. Pass rush doesn’t mean shit when the QB gets the ball out quick. 21 sacks is 21 sacks. Marpet missed 3 games. 2 of those 3 games were against the best defenses on the schedule(Saints, Rams). And Smith missed a game. Yet Brady played 7 games against teams ranked in the top half of the league in sacks. Saints(2), Rams, Broncos, Giants, Packers,… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Dave
Spruce
Reply to  Dave
15 days ago

We really don’t need to be arguing at this point nor is it particularly smart to be mocking me at this stage. We’ll see won’t we. According to you guys on most plays the WFT’s edge rushers will be nicely moved out as Brady steps up on the vast majority of plays. We’ll see won’t we.
I’ll get back to you on that. Dave and RW. Got it..We’ll chat Sunday.

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Dave
Reply to  Spruce
15 days ago

Who’s arguing? You made a post, and seeing as it’s a forum, I’m entitled to reply if I have a different opinion. Which I did. And according to you, Brady and the OLine have no chance against the 85 Bears pass rush. I’m sure you said the same thing against the Rams with no Marpet. Brady did what the other 13 QB’s who’ve faced the Rams defense this season have done, which was struggle. With that aside, the Bucs didn’t lose to the Rams because of the Rams ferocious pass rush. They lost because they decided to implement a bold… Read more »

Spruce
Reply to  Dave
12 days ago

It’s just a shame you have to take points I make you may disagree with then filter them through your prism of rabid Buc loyalty and they come out not what I said at all. When did I say they have no chance. Never said it. I don’t know why you’re bringing up things about the Rams. My comment never mentioned the Rams.
If you aren’t going to pay attention to what I say and go off on your own tangents just ignore me. You obviously can’t have a civil discussion without getting combative.

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Naplesfan
16 days ago

Washington will not be an easy out due to their defense, which will be a big challenge for our Brady-led offense which has not done so well against strong interior lines. And as to the Washington offense, we can hold them down only if our pass rush gets after Alex Smith as the did not against Matt Ryan yesterday. Now, we’ll get one of our defensive starters back Saturday, while unfortunately according to league rules we can’t get Devin White back. Although an argument can certainly be made that the 10 day requirement could be relaxed by one day if… Read more »

Randy H.
Reply to  Naplesfan
16 days ago

So, you are expecting the Saints to lose to the Bears? That is the only way that the Bucs would travel to Seattle for the second round.

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BigSombrero
Reply to  Naplesfan
15 days ago

Washington can’t score quickly. Alex Smith, while a nice comeback story, isn’t very good. The WFT RBs are solid, but I think the Bucs rush defense is much better.

This has the earmarks to be a massive blowout. The ceiling on points scored by Washington is 17 IMO.

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fredster
16 days ago

If they can give Brady time and run ball we will smash Washington. If they get to Brady it could get closer than anyone thinks. Hoping they don’t let them hang around like Falcons. Losing to 7-9 team would suck bad. I said all year this defense isn’t there yet. The poll weeks ago started about is it the defense or offense that’s the biggest issue was at about 50/50 now it’s what over 70% finally agree it’s the defense that’s the problem! Lot folks here argued about offense being worse when really the only big issue was o line… Read more »

eaustinyoung
16 days ago

Need the offensive line to play lights out.

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Dave
16 days ago

Guess we know who the nfl wants to represent the NFC in the SB. The league made sure the Saints got the Sunday game so that Kamara can play. But we got the Saturday game so White can’t play. Funny how that works. Now i really hope the Saints lose anyways. More than usual

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BigSombrero
Reply to  Dave
15 days ago

No conspiracy. The Bucs have a cakewalk in round 1 vs WFT and get an extra day to rest for round 2 vs GB.

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Dave
Reply to  BigSombrero
15 days ago

Who said a single word about conspiracy theory? Because I sure didn’t. I said the league choosing the Bucs on Saturday and the Saints on Sunday, tells me that the league would rather have the Saints go deep. They had their choice, they made sure the Saints wouldn’t go without Kamara. I knew the Saints were going to get the Sunday game

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Horse
16 days ago

Washington has a good Defense and has beaten more winning teams than us. Also Alex Smith has improved as he continues to heal from his serious leg injury from last Season.. If we keep the Offense throttle up high we should win, if we play like the last couple games. Our Defense will be a big problem when we go to the next level of the Playoffs.
Meanwhile, I’m proud and happy for our team. Go Bucs!

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BigSombrero
Reply to  Horse
15 days ago

Atlanta has a top 5 passing attack and that’s without Julio Jones for the last 9 weeks. Bucs won’t face an offense like that in Washington.

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seat26
15 days ago

Such a great win against Atlanta and an impressive Season finale with an 11and 5 record. Getting Washington as our first playoff game is the best we could hope for. Losing White and possibly Evans will be tough. I think we are pretty deep at receiver, so I think we get a win if our defense can hold it together. Our offense has ended the season on fire. It was great to see Rojo back in the lineup.

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