The 2020 NFL schedule was released Thursday night and it’s markedly better for Tampa Bay than last year’s brutal schedule, which had too much travel away from Raymond James Stadium in the month of October (over an entire month). There is no trip overseas to London this year, nor are there far away West Coast trips to Seattle or Los Angeles. All that travel contributed to the Bucs’ weariness and injuries down the stretch as Tampa Bay finished 7-9 after losing back-to-back home games to end the year.

The furthest west the Bucs venture in 2020 is Las Vegas to take on former head coach Jon Gruden and the Raiders on Sunday Night Football on October 25. That’s one of five prime time games Tampa Bay has on the 2020 schedule.

Here are my initial takeaways on the schedule, which should set the Bucs up for a 10-6 or 11-5 record if the team can stay moderately healthy.

BUCS’ 2020 REGULAR SEASON SCHEDULE
Week 1: at New Orleans: Sept. 13 – 4:25 p.m. FOX
Week 2: vs. Carolina: Sept. 20 – 1:00 p.m. FOX
Week 3: at Denver: Sept, 27 – 4:25 p.m. FOX
Week 4: vs. Chargers: Oct. 4 – 1:00 p.m. CBS
Week 5: at Bears (TNF): Oct. 8 – 8:20 p.m. FOX
Week 6: vs. Packers: Oct. 18 – 4:25 p.m. FOX
Week 7: at Raiders (SNF): Oct. 25 – 8:20 p.m. NBC
Week 8: at Giants (MNF): Nov. 2 – 8:15 p.m. ESPN
Week 9: vs. Saints (SNF): Nov. 8 – 8:20 p.m. NBC
Week 10: at Panthers: Nov. 15 – 1:00 p.m. FOX
Week 11: vs. Rams (MNF): Nov. 23 – 8:15 p.m. ESPN
Week 12: vs. Chiefs: Nov. 29 – 4:25 p.m. CBS
Week 13: Bye Week
Week 14: vs. Vikings: Dec. 13 – 1:00 p.m. FOX
Week 15: at Falcons: Dec. 20 – 1:00 p.m. FOX
Week 16: at Lions: Dec. 26/27 – TBD
Week 17: vs. Falcons: Jan. 3 – 1:00 p.m. FOX

Bucs defense
Bucs defense – Photo by: Getty Images

Outside of a very tough opener at defending NFC South champion New Orleans (where the Bucs are 5-point underdogs), Tampa Bay has a chance to win the next four games against Carolina (home), Denver (away), L.A. Chargers (home) and Chicago (away). The Bucs can even be 5-0 with an upset in the Big Easy in Week 1. Of course I thought last year’s easiest game would be against San Francisco at home in Week 1, considering the 49ers were 4-12 the previous year. Who knew San Francisco would create some early momentum off that win in Tampa Bay and go 12-4 en route to the Super Bowl?

There is a big group of five prime time games in the middle of the schedule, starting at Chicago on Thursday night and continues two weeks later on Sunday Night Football at Las Vegas. The Bucs travel to face the New York Giants the next week on Monday Night Football before hosting the Saints on Sunday Night Football the following week on November 8. Following a 1:00 p.m. road game at Carolina, Tampa Bay then hosts the L.A. Rams on Monday Night Football on Nov. 23.

That’s the Tom Brady effect, folks. And that’s a franchise record for prime time games in a season. The Bucs only had four prime time games in 2003 following the team’s Super Bowl win the previous year.

Another notable is the Bucs’ bye week in Week 13. In my 24 years of covering the Bucs I can’t recall a bye week this late in the season. That late bye week could help Tampa Bay rests its legs and gear up for a playoff push in December. A strong finish could be in the cards if this team can figure out how to win at home and convert Raymond James Stadium into a home-field advantage.

Five of the Bucs’ last seven games are at home, where the team was 2-6 last year. Tampa Bay hasn’t had a winning record at home since going 6-2 in 2008, which was the last year Jon Gruden coached the Bucs, finishing 9-7 that season and missing the playoffs by one game. The best record Tampa Bay has posted at home since was 4-4 under every year Dirk Koetter was head coach from 2016-18.

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: [email protected]
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Pete Wood

13-3. Losses to Saints, Packers and Chiefs.
Gonna be a great year, y’all.

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BucWonder

I agree this is going to be a great year to be a Buc fan. Best Buc record ever. I can’t wait.

Go Bucs.

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Buc76

Get ready for games in empty stadiums. Can’t see how they put 65,000 people in one place until they get a vaccine. There will be no Saints crowd week 1. That should help us.

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seat26

That is the big question. And even if they have empty stadiums and just pipe in the applause and cheering, how do they put 90 guys in a locker for training camp? Will everyone on the field be wearing masks? the Cheerleaders? Coaches and trainers? Camera people? Vendors?

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Spitfire

They should be able to check temperatures and test if needed. Players and coaches should be able to check in Fri, be tested and practice, walkthrough and play on Sun as an example.

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AlbJack65

I went to Publix this morning and there were a lot of people in there. I didn’t wear a mask. Next I went to Walmart, then RaceTrac for gas and cigarettes. No mask. No hysteria. Just living my life. They open the stadium for games, I’m going. As Red so eloquently put it in Shawshank Redemption, “Get busy livin’, or get busy dyin’. That’s God damned right!”.

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Horse

Easy to say when you’re under 65 years old.
I’m 74 years old, Vietnam Veteran, 100% Disability. What the hell haveyou done in your life to justify that I can’t live the rest of my life because you don’t give a damn about exposing others to the virus?
You sound like a non-caring punk-ass!

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gcolerick

I think your comment makes you sound a bit like a Horse’s Ass. No reason to insult and judge AJ65 for expressing his view on Covid-19 by using a quote from one of the best movies ever….nothing wrong with that. Appreciate your service but it doesn’t really give you a free pass to insult others just because they express their views. Your service for our country was to protect our way of life….last time I checked Amendment 1 was a big part of that.

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FireLichtMovement

Gcolerick, I believe that was an opinion of an opinion. Amendment 1 protects that also.

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AlbJack65

Well Horse, I’m by no means a young man and I served in the military also. Thanks for your service. Being a 2+ pack per day smoker makes me fairly high risk if I catch this crap as well. It’s not that I’m non-caring, it’s that I refuse to live in fear. Hell, if I caught the regular flu I could be in trouble. I’ve spent the better part of my life in the roofing industry, sometimes hanging my ass out to the wind 3 stories up with no harness or staying on a roof with lightning banging all around… Read more »

Pete Wood

Alot of people have already died from COVID 19. The problem with living your life without safety precautions is that other people start dying. Common sense is a wonderful thing, but every single medical professional is on the exact same page about how to respond to the pandemic. And the opinion of the medical experts is not the same as many of the politicians or those blessed with “common sense.” The virus ain’t going anywhere, y’all, even if we want to pretend we’ve solved the problem.All we’ve done is temporarily free up some hospital beds. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit… Read more »

matador

You are a complete frigging idiot. People like you are the reason the rest of us will be stuck dealing with this until a vaccine is available. But you’re probably a vaccine non-believer too. Moron.

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AlbJack65

Matador, I have zero tolerance for anti-vaxxers. That was quite a stretch you made.

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Pete Wood

Wow, Matador, that came out of nowhere. I’m not an anti-vaxer and am current on all my shots for what it’s worth.
You don’t know anything about me and making unfounded assumptions about people who post on Pewter Reports and calling fellow posters names doesn’t help an already bad situation. What I do know about you is that your posts are always quite reasonable and I enjoy reading them. This last post was very much out of character.
Stay healthy and safe, friend.

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Pete Wood

Matador, I owe you an apology. It looks like your comment may not have been directed at me. However, I think we need to be civil towards each other on pewter.

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Spitfire

I could not possibly care less about whether or not fans are in the stands or not. I am totally fine with them playing the games all by themselves, as long as there’s football.

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Gatordoc1

antibody testing? screen for virus the day before like they do for surgery? This is America. I think we can find other solutions, too.

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jshumaker

As much money as the NFL makes they can afford to test every player and staff every day they show up for

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matador

“This is America”? The virus doesn’t give a sh—. Soon there will be > 2x the number of dead in Vietnam. Wake up.

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Knightrider79

How about this, if you’re of higher risk then stay home. Never in the history of the world have we quarantined the healthy. Sweden stayed open and just had those with higher risk stay home. There’s no sense in staying home. Did y’all stay home when SARS broke out? How about swine flu?

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seat26

We’ll be lucky if there is a season. At best, it may not start until Nov.

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Dave

As ARod said, R.E.L.A.X. The season is 4 months away, or as late as 6 months away, based on the contingency plan they have in place. I know it seems like it’s been forever, but all this, and it still hasn’t even been 2 months yet. Yet in 2 months, we went from just starting to get covid cases in the US, to hitting a peak, to(as a country) flattening the curve and being on the downswing of cases. Which hopefully will allow most states, if not at all states, to be able to treat covid patients without overwhelming the… Read more »

Spitfire

We would have won that stupid San Fran game if not for major major mistakes. I felt last year we had the talent and chance to win every single one of our games and in the end there were probably only 2-3 that we got beat and didn’t just beat ourselves. Hopefully if Brady can catch on quick or at least work with his experience until he catches on, we should still have the chance to win any game. Even KC last year played like garbage in the first half of games only to explode in the second half. Green… Read more »

owlykat

I couldn’t have said it any better, Spitfire! Thank goodness we will have the chance to play in our own Super Bowl!

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Dave

Exactly Spitfire. There will be a season. Even if it’s the worst case scenario which is an entire season without fans, or a delayed season, with most the season without fans. Good thing is, our schedule is frontloaded with road games. Which works out perfectly for us. Give us most of our road games early, where their most likely won’t be fans for the first half of the season.

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AlbJack65

Now I’m wishing Rivers had stayed with the Chargers since they play the Bucs this year. Rivers’ decision making abilities have obviously gotten worse as he announced that after his NFL career he is going to live in Alabama. On purpose. Oh what a joy it would be if every QB the Bucs face would have such poor decision making ability. Alabama, on purpose. It sounds like a made up joke or something. Early onset of dementia maybe? I mean honestly, who moves to Alabama? Well yeah, I know, Klansmen move to Alabama, but Rivers isn’t that type. He’s a… Read more »

drdneast

Thanks for the comment Horse and your service to this country and not chickening out by getting a podiatrist to write you up a fake medical report about having bone spurs. There seems to be a small segment of society who seem to think they can behave like they want without regard to others in the society. To walk around and pretend ignorance to what is going on right now and behaving as you wish is just plain selfish and stupid. The Greatest Generation spent five years sacrificing a lot more than this current one has yet we couldn’t spend… Read more »

Knightrider79

smh

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AlbJack65

Six “thumbs down”. Nobody has a sense of humor anymore.

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Darin

Exactly. Who knew SF was gonna be that good. Who knows about the teams this coming season?!?! Yep. Stay tuned and we will all know.
And Pete. If you’re a Bucs fan and make predictions, why would they lose 3 games? Win em all until ya dont

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BigSombrero

I’ve been predicting 13 wins for 2 months. Before Brady. Before Gronk. Before the draft. Most opponents this year have big question marks and don’t match up on paper.

THis schedule is a dream schedule vs last years nightmare schedule. AN NFL make up call was always on its way with the schedule. BA doubled down by adding the GOAT and his fave TE.

Rest assured, Winston would’ve won with this schedule too. It’ll be a fun year as long as they play.

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We have not proven a thing on the field. Our offseason media hype could bring intense competition on gameday with national attention/pressure. I believe we will be the HOME TEAM in the Superbowl, that is our fuel.

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toofamiliar17

Not that it’s the most important thing, Scott, but I am curious, as are some of us over at BucsNation – any info on why we don’t play Miami in the preseason this year? We’ve done so for just about every recent season I can remember. And especially in a time in which travel is riskier than it used to be, why wouldn’t we keep that long-held tradition going? In addition to everything else, it’s clearly easier logistically and less expensive than flying up to Cleveland or Pittsburgh will be. Rate this item:Thumb UpThumb DownSubmit Rating00 No votes yet. Please… Read more »

Johnny Cannons

Man – it’s so much more fun to predict where the losses will be rather than try to find wins!

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