The NFL’s schedule release is May 12 at 8 p.m. ET, but before then, let’s have some fun by taking a stab at which opponents end up as primetime matchups on the Buccaneers’ 2022 schedule.
3. Buccaneers at 49ers
The magnitude of this matchup will be based solely upon whether or not Jimmy Garoppolo is San Francisco’s starting quarterback in 2022.
And, as of now, he is the starting quarterback. Why does that matter? Because, the NFL makes the schedule now, obviously.
It’s certainly a risk to roll the dice on Garoppolo being the guy, but, scared money doesn’t make money. And, the NFL will survive if Trey Lance is in fact under center by the time this game rolls around.
The reward is ultimately greater than the risk. Can you imagine the hype that will follow a Jimmy G-Tom Brady matchup? Let’s not forget how hyped Brady’s return to New Engladnd was last year. And on top of all that, it’s a matchup between two top-5 teams in the NFC.
It’s easy to pick three home opponents as primetime matchups based off the teams traveling to Raymond James Stadium this fall, but it’s hard to see the NFL giving the Buccaneers three primetime matchups at home. Of all of Tampa Bay’s away opponents, the 49ers make the most sense.
2. Chiefs at Buccaneers
Yes, the Buccaneers routed Patrick Mahomes and Co. back in Super Bowl LV, but things are a lot different in 2022. Primarily, the Chiefs and their offensive line.
Mahomes is still one of the best quarterbacks in the league, but the talk of him eventually overtaking Brady has dropped off quicker than the most recent Tik Tok trend. Regardless, this will still be a matchup of two of the best quarterbacks in the league, which always sells in terms of ratings.
And what better way to reignite the aforementioned conversation than pitting these two against each other on one of the biggest stages of the 2022 season?
There are too many storylines to pass up. Elite storylines, at that. Therefore, expect Brady and Mahomes to entertain thousands upon thousands during primetime one more time.
1. Bengals at Buccaneers
Joe Burrow vs. Tom Brady. The reigning AFC Champions vs. the defending NFC South champs. The league’s best receiving corps vs. one of the more versatile secondaries in the NFL. An offensive-minded head coach in Zac Taylor vs. one of the NFL’s best defensive minds in Todd Bowles. A revamped offensive line vs. one of the NFL’s best front sevens.
Can you really ask for more than that?
The Burrow vs. Brady matchup will carry the most weight, but it’s really Alex Cappa’s return to Tampa Bay that people need to pay the most attention to.
Just kidding, of course.
But in all seriousness, this may be the NFL’s only chance at pitting Burrow and Brady together in primetime. So, you better believe that Roger Goodell and Co. are going to take advantage of it and squeeze every bit of juice out of this lemon.
Honorable mentions: Rams, Packers, and Browns
Featured image via Jeremy Reper-USA TODAY Sports