The NFL didn’t do Tampa Bay any favors by scheduling the team’s first-round wild card game for Saturday night, January 9. The game will be played at 8:15 p.m. ET and will be televised by NBC. The Bucs will travel to the nation’s capital to play Washington, the winner of the NFC East division, which finished with a 7-9 record.

The Bucs haven’t fared well in prime time games this year, going 1-3 in nationally televised night games, losing at home to the Rams and Saints, and on the road against the Bears. Tampa Bay’s lone prime time win came at New York against the Giants on Monday Night Football.

Bucs QB Tom Brady

Bucs QB Tom Brady – Photo by: USA Today

Obviously with Tom Brady’s national appeal and popularity the NFL wanted to give the Bucs the biggest televised audience possible, which is why they are playing on Saturday night.

Perhaps more importantly, Tampa Bay likely won’t get inside linebacker Devin White back for the first round of the playoffs, 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.

Here is the full NFL playoff schedule for the wild card round:

Saturday, January 9 – Wild Card Round

Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills – 1:05 p.m. ET – CBS
Los Angeles Rams at Seattle Seahawks – 4:40 p.m. ET – Fox
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Washington Football Team – 8:15 p.m. ET – NBC

Sunday, January 10 – Wild Card Round

Baltimore Ravens at Tennessee Titans 1:05 p.m. ET ABC / ESPN
Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints 4:40 p.m. ET – CBS / Nick /Amazon Prime Video
Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers – 8:15 p.m. ET – NBC


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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 Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for 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:
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4 months ago

Uh oh. Saturday at 8:15 sounds like prime time. Thankfully it will be against one of the worst teams to ever make the NFL playoffs. Classic immovable object against the unstoppable force! 😂

4 months ago

I don’t even want to joke about it. We suck in prime time, we are without two stars on each side of the ball and the football team is fired up at home with the Alex Smith story.

4 months ago

This is concerning. Cutting us a day short hurts us with White and Evans. No bueno. I’m also worried about the WFT defensive line. They are badass and bring constant pressure, which does not make Brady comfortable. Our O-line better step the hell up. Big time. Our entire defense better step it up like they haven’t for quite a while. If Brady gets the time he needs and our defense gets home against Smith and maybe a few turnovers, we will be fine. If not…heavy sigh… I still have faith. But, I won’t be comfortable. (And the Bucs better wear… Read more »

4 months ago

I couldn’t agree more, the Bucs have looked tired and lethargic in night games this season.

4 months ago

No chance they play flat, despite the prime time game. They will go to DC, ready to rumble.

4 months ago

Buc UP and whip those DC players despite it is a night game!

4 months ago

We have the better record. Why do we have to play there? They should have to play us here it wo