If the Tampa Bay Buccaneers first two games of the season have captured the curiosity of pundits who buried them over the offseason, Monday Night is an opportunity to demand attention.
The Bucs are essentially reintroducing themselves to a national audience on Monday Night Football, and have an opportunity to prove their 2-0 start to the year isn't some lucky fluke. After Tom Brady retired back in February the Bucs were written off and expected to be nothing more than a footnote this season. Signing Baker Mayfield didn't inspire anyone to change that opinion but the team has looked entirely unlike the disaster they were predicted to be before the season started.
Funny how that works, how playing the games actually matters.
The Bucs marched into Minnesota and kicked their season off by upsetting the Vikings, and last week put together another impressive defensive performance to beat the Bears. Those two opponents pale in comparison to what the Bucs are up against on Monday night, as the reigning NFC Champions are in town and also looking to remain undefeated.
Nobody can take away the start the Bucs have had, but many have tried to water it down. It's fair criticism that the Vikings and Bears aren't exactly world-beating opponents but the Bucs have looked really good in both of their wins. There was no luck involved in either of the games, as the defense looks to be playing at an elite level and Baker is settling the offense into a nice rhythm.
A win on Monday night would go a long way in forcing the Bucs to be respected, apparently against the will of some pundits. Even a close loss would suffice, as Tampa Bay can prove in front of a national audience that they're not the bums everyone said they'd be and that the team is and always has been bigger than Tom Brady.
How to watch Buccaneers vs. Eagles Week 3: Start time, live stream, TV channel
To the surprise of no one, the Bucs are scheduled for far fewer primetime games than they had been over the last three seasons. Losing Tom Brady will have that effect, but they weren't shut out entirely from national broadcasts.
Monday night is the first of two primetime games the Bucs are scheduled to play this season. The other game comes in Week 8 with a trip up to Buffalo for Amazon Prime's Thursday Night Football. If things keep moving in a positive direction for Tampa Bay, there's a decent chance they are in consideration for getting flexed into a Sunday Night Football game later in the season, depending on how things go.
It's hard to see that far into the future, but the Bucs New Year's Eve game against the Saints could end up being massively important with a Baker-Derek Carr showdown getting flexed to primetime. That's getting ahead of ourselves, though, as the Bucs need to take care of business on Monday night in order to remain on the national radar.
Keep in mind there are two Monday Night Football games again this week, which means the Bucs game will only be on one channel. The Rams-Bengals game is the second game scheduled for Monday and will air on ESPN, with the Bucs-Eagles game airing an hour earlier than when MNF normally kicks off and will only be on ABC.
Here's all of the information you need to know to catch the Bucs big primetime game tonight against the Eagles.
- Date: Monday, September 25th
- Start Time: 7:15 pm ET
- Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
- TV Channel: ABC
- Announcers: Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Lisa Salters
- Live Stream: ESPN+
Latest Buccaneers vs. Eagles Week 3 odds
So far the Bucs have only been favored in one game this season, but it's hard to blame Vegas for making them home dogs this week. As good as they've looked, the Bucs are the inferior team on paper with the Eagles looking like one of the best teams in the league.
That's why even a close loss would go a long way in earning the Bucs some national credit.
Usually home teams are spotted three points by oddsmakers, which means the Bucs are pretty significant home underdogs tonight. That being said, there's not as much value on their Moneyline odds which remain under +200 ahead of kick off.
They're still expected to lose, but the fact that the line isn't wildly skewed -- especially with what we expected to see when the schedule was released -- goes to show that the Bucs are slowly gaining respect.
- Spread: Eagles -5
- Moneyline: Bucs +185 | Eagles -225
- Over/Under: 45