Tampa Bay Sports Day

BUCS: Two Prime Time Matchups in 2016

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2016 regular-season schedule, released by the National Football League, is highlighted by two primetime divisional matchups: a Monday Night Football contest at Carolina in Week 5 and a Thursday Night Football clash with Atlanta at Raymond James Stadium in Week 9. The Buccaneers will play five 2015 playoff teams during the 2016 regular season, including a home game against the Super Bowl 50 Champion Denver Broncos.

Tampa Bay’s regular season begins with back-to-back away games – the first time since 1998 that the Buccaneers have been originally scheduled to open on the road for two consecutive weeks (the team did so in 2001 following the NFL’s rescheduling of Week 2 contests).

In Week 1, the team faces the Atlanta Falcons. The game marks the first time that Buccaneers Defensive Coordinator Mike Smith will return to the Georgia Dome sidelines, where he served as the Falcons’ head coach from 2008-14. The Buccaneers swept last season’s two meetings.

In Week 2, the Buccaneers make their first of three separate West Coast trips this season, taking on the Arizona Cardinals on September 18. The Buccaneers and Cardinals have a 9-9 record against each other and Tampa Bay can even its road record in the series to 4-4 with a win.

The Buccaneers return to Raymond James Stadium with a pair of late afternoon games in Weeks 3 and 4. The regular-season home opener will take place on September 25, with the newly relocated Los Angeles Rams coming to Tampa for a 4:05 p.m. ET kickoff. This year marks the fifth consecutive year that the Rams and Buccaneers have played one another (2012-16).

On October 2, also at 4:05 p.m. ET, the reigning world champions come to town, as the Buccaneers host the Denver Broncos. The game marks only the fourth time overall, and first time since 2004, that Denver has visited Tampa Bay.

The Buccaneers then travel to face the Carolina Panthers in Week 5 on Monday Night Football, marking the second consecutive week that Tampa Bay plays a Super Bowl 50 participant. The team has won its two most recent Monday Night Football appearances – against Indianapolis in 2011 and against Miami in 2013.

Following their Week 6 bye, the Buccaneers go back to action in Week 7 with a road game against the San Francisco 49ers. The visit marks the first time Tampa Bay will play in Levi’s Stadium.

Tampa Bay then returns to Raymond James Stadium for a three-game home stand, beginning with the Oakland Raiders on October 30. The Buccaneers are 1-1 all-time against the Raiders at home.

In Week 9, the Buccaneers play their second primetime game of the season as they host the Atlanta Falcons for Thursday Night Football. When playing the Falcons at home, the Buccaneers hold a 14-10 advantage.

Next, Tampa Bay takes on the Chicago Bears, meeting their old NFC Central rival for the third consecutive year and looking to avenge last year’s 26-21 home loss.

The Buccaneers travel to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 11, in a series where Tampa Bay has a 6-5 overall advantage while owning a four-game win streak (1999, 2004, 2008, 2012).

On November 27, the Buccaneers welcome the Seattle Seahawks. Tampa Bay has won three of its past four meetings against Seattle, with the loss coming in an overtime contest against the Seahawks in 2013.

Heading back west in Week 13, Tampa Bay will face off against the San Diego Chargers, an opponent the Buccaneers haven’t visited since 2004.

Tampa Bay squares off against the New Orleans Saints for the first time on December 11, as the Buccaneers host the NFC South rival and hunt for their first home win against the Saints since 2011.

In Weeks 15 and 16, the Buccaneers play their final road games, first visiting the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, December 18, before traveling to close out their series with the New Orleans Saints on Saturday, December 24.

The regular-season campaign ends at home on January 1 against the Carolina Panthers.

This season, the NFL will again utilize “flexible scheduling,” which may be applied in Weeks 5-17. Up to two games may be flexed into Sunday Night Football between Weeks 5-10. A select number of games may also be “cross-flexed,” moving between CBS and FOX to bring potentially under-distributed games to wider audiences.

Flexible scheduling will be used in Weeks 11-17 as usual and it will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights.

A flexible scheduling move would be announced at least 12 days before the affected game. For Week 17, the change may be announced six days before the game. Flexible scheduling is intended to ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks where it is applied.