Ryan Talbot of NewYorkUpstate.com has reported that the Bucs and Bills game won’t occur to start the season. They will in fact take place later on in the year on December 12th. This makes for a good battle between two teams that expect to be at the top of their respective conferences by the last month in the regular season and a playoff push ahead. Talbot also reported that the game will take place at 4:25.
Historically, the opening game of the season features two teams in the same conference, with the defending champions at home. Over the last 10 years there were only three times that this was not the case. Only one of the games did not feature the Super Bowl winning team.
The first of those three was in 2013 when the Baltimore Ravens were on the road against the Denver Broncos. This was due to a scheduling conflict with a Baltimore Orioles’ playoff game. The second featured the defending champion Broncos at home facing the Panthers in 2016, which was a rematch of the Super Bowl from the year before.
The third, which did not feature a defending champion, came in 2019 when the Bears hosted the Packers to commemorate the NFL’s 100th season. Had it gone the traditional way, it would have been the Tom Brady and the Patriots hosting the game after Brady the sixth of his seven Super Bowls.
Coincidentally, the Bucs didn’t open the 2003 season nor even start it at home following their Super XXXVII win. They traveled to Philadelphia for Monday Night Football and defeated the Eagles 17-0. Tampa Bay lost their home opener the next week, falling to the Panthers 12-9 in overtime.
These current Bucs will get the opportunity to kickoff the season at home to defend their Super Bowl LV championship. Even though the Bills may not be their opponent, there are still a lot of great options remaining, including the Saints, Giants, and Cowboys to name a couple.
You can read Talbot’s full report about the scheduling here.