Two primetime games and a match up with six playoff teams from 2016 headline the Tampa Bay Buccaneers season schedule for 2017, which was released by the NFL Thursday night.
The Bucs open the season in Miami on Sept. 10 against the Dolphins, then play three of their next four games at home, including a Week 5 showdown with the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots at Raymond James Stadium on Thursday Night Football.
Here are some observations (full schedule below):
- Bucs have two primetime games, Oct. 5 vs. Patriots (TNF) and Dec. 18 at Falcons (MNF).
- The Bucs will face Eli Manning and Tom Brady, two quarterbacks with seven total Super Bowl rings, in a span of five days, followed by three road games in a four-week span.
- There's a New Year's Eve home game, Dec. 31 vs. the Saints and a Christmas Eve game at the Panthers.
- A strong finish is necessary to make the playoffs. Bucs have three NFC South opponents to finish the season: vs. Atlanta , at Carolina and the season finale against New Orleans.
- Bucs play six games in 2017 against teams that made the playoffs last year, including four in a row, Weeks 12-15: at Falcons, at Packers, vs. Lions, vs. Falcons.
- Three of the first five games are at home, as are three of the final four.
Full Schedule (home games in bold):
Week 1, September 15 at Miami (1 p.m.)
Week 2, September 17 vs. Bears (1 p.m.)
Week 3, September 24 at Vikings (1 p.m.)
Week 4, October 1 vs. Giants (4 p.m.)
Week 5, October 5 vs. Patriots (8:25 p.m. - TNF)
Week 6, October 15 at Cardinals (4:05 p.m.)
Week 7, October 22 at Bills (1 p.m.)
Week 8, October 29 vs. Panthers (1 p.m.)
Week 9, November 5 at Saints (1 p.m.)
Week 10, November 12 vs. Jets (1 p.m.)
Week 11, BYE
Week 12, November 26 at Atlanta (1 p.m.)
Week 13, December 3 at Packers (1 p.m.)
Week 14, December 10 vs. Lions (1 p.m.)
Week 15, December 18 vs. Falcons (8:30 p.m. - MNF)
Week 16, December 24 at Panthers (1 p.m.)
Week 17, December 31 vs. Saints (1 p.m.)