LOOKING AT THE 2020 SCHEDULE There are two things that always happen when the NFL publishes its schedule - each team’s fans think they have been hosed over the alignment of the games (OK 2019 for the Bucs was legitimate) and then some people try to predict the record based on what they see.   This of course completely ignores injuries, momentum and the other myriad of events that make sport so unpredictable and therefore turn out to be completely wrong and a complete waste of time.  It was also amusing to see all the so-called “leaked schedules” before prove to be totally false including one from a Tampa pundit who has since deleted the post from social media.  What we can do though is look at each game in turn and highlight something specific about the match-up and past encounters with each team on the schedule. The exhibition games are all against the AFC North.  The Bucs played in Pittsburgh in the 2019 pre-season and lost 28-30 holding a 2-3 all-time record with the Steelers.  The 1985 game was a 42-27 loss in Leeman Bennett’s Tampa coaching debut but the Bucs did jump out to a 20-0 lead inside six minutes.   The Bucs are 5-8 all-time with the Jaguars in the pre-season including a loss in their most recent meeting in 2018.  They hold a 2-2 mark with the Titans with a 30-14 road win two years ago and they are 6-5 against the Browns having played them four times in the past five years. WEEK 1 at New Orleans - this will be the fourth time the Bucs have opened a season against the Saints including the Fitzmagic 48-40 victory in 2018.   They began their Super Bowl season with an overtime home loss to them too.   Tampa Bay is 12-19 all-time in New Orleans but their first franchise victory came there in 1977. WEEK 2 v Carolina - the home schedule opens up with the Panthers who the Bucs played host to in London last year.    They are 7-11 all-time in Tampa-based games. WEEK 3 at Denver - the Bucs’ only win in the Mile High City came in a 1993 shock that included Dave Moore’s first TD reception.   They only go there once every eight years now and the all-time record there is 1-4 but Matt Grisham will make sure of a great welcome for any Buccaneer fans making the trip. WEEK 4 v LA Chargers - it will be the first time the LA Chargers have been to Tampa but their San Diego predecessors won five of the previous six meetings, the only Tampa victory coming in 2012.   The two teams played one of the strike games in 1987 and the Bucs wound up signing QB Rick Neuheisel who had beaten them. WEEK 5 at Chicago - the Bucs went there every season in the old NFC Central alignment and hold a 7-22 all-time record there.   The last visit was in 2018 when the defense somehow made Mitch Trubisky look like a superstar as he threw six touchdown passes. WEEK 6 v Green Bay - even I have been to a Week 6 home game with the Packers albeit 30 years ago.  They won that won and hold a 14-13-1 all-time mark with the Pack in Tampa, the tie coming in the 1980 season.   The 2009 throwback game was against Green Bay but their only visit since then came in a December 2014 encounter. WEEK 7 at Las Vegas - of course the first visit to Sin City as the Raiders move into their new home.  The Bucs never actually won a game in Oakland (0-5) but did win the only time they went to Los Angeles to play them in 1993. WEEK 8 at NY Giants - another poor hunting ground for the Bucs as they are 1-8 visiting the Giants.  The win came in 1997 and the last two meetings in 2012 and 2018 have been wild high-scoring shootouts.  2012 was also the infamous “crash the kneeldown” play that established Greg Schiano as totally classless around the NFL. WEEK 9 v New Orleans - the Bucs are only 9-16 against the Saints at home including defeats in the past two meetings. They did score 48 against them in 2001 though. WEEK 10 at Carolina - a win early in 2019 took the Bucs to 8-12 on visits to Charlotte.  In each of the past 18 visits, the Panthers have drawn over 70,000 fans. WEEK 11 v LA Rams - the Bucs are 7-7 all-time with the Rams at home but only 3-6 against the Los Angeles version.  They also lost an NFC title game in January 1980. WEEK 12 v Kansas City - the Super Bowl champions come to Tampa with the Bucs 4-2 all-time against them at home not having lost since the 1993 season opener. WEEK 13 at Minnesota - another trip to a former division rival with the Bucs 9-19 in the Twin Cities losing in 2017 after three straight road victories against the Vikes. WEEK 14 at Atlanta - we do not see the Falcons until the very end of the season and the Bucs are 11-14 all-time there in what will be a home game for LeeAnn Varvel. WEEK 15 v Detroit - the Bucs have not beaten the Lions at home since 2005 losing their past three games with them.  The all-time record in Tampa is 13-15. WEEK 16 v Atlanta - the season ends as always now with a division game.  The Bucs are 14-14 at home to the Falcons and 9-16 all-time in home season finales.