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.
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.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org