The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in the thick of the playoff hunt, so their final game of the season has been moved to later in the day so more people can tune in to watch.
Unfortunately, it’s not the Buccaneers’ playoff hopes which are on the line, but rather the Saints, who the Buccaneers will face in New Orleans.
Here is the confirmation of the change, from Ian Rapoport of NFL Media.
Week 17 sked changes: Eagles-Cowboys flexed to 8:30 on @SNFonNBC. Bills-Pats to 4:25, Bucs-Saints to 4:25. Pack-Bears to 4:25 IF CHI loses
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 23, 2013
So if you catch yourself asking “When do the Buccaneers and Saints play this week?” on Sunday at 12:45 in the afternoon, just remember that the Saints have earned the right to play in a later game which will be viewed by more eyes.
This will also align as many as game as possible within the NFC playoff picture, so teams won’t know the fate of other teams before their games begin. So in other words, the Saints will have everything to play for, and will look to take it out on the Buccaneers.
Unlike Week 17 of 2012 against the clinched Atlanta Falcons, this matchup with New Orleans won’t be against a coasting squad of playoff-bound Saints. The Buccaneers will have a very tough time handling the “ticked off” Saints looking to get redemption for their last-minute loss to the Panthers.