Buccaneers vs. Panthers start time, TV channel, streaming, and more: Everything to know for Week 18

  • Tampa Bay clinches NFC South title with a win
  • Bucs are eliminated with a loss
  • A tie leaves the one long-shot playoff scenario open
Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Carolina Panthers v Tampa Bay Buccaneers / Mike Carlson/GettyImages

A tipsy-turbo season for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers comes down to Week 18 and a must-win game against the hapless Carolina Panthers.

The Bucs bounced back from a 1-6 slump earlier in the season to win four straight game and set themselves up with a chance to win the NFC South last Sunday against New Orleans. That didn’t happen, and now Tampa Bay needs to win on Sunday to punch a playoff ticket.

Despite the loss last week, the Bucs still control their own destiny. The bad news is the margin for error is as thin as it is well defined. A loss wouldn’t just mean Tampa Bay misses out on a chance to win the division, it would end their season and cause the team to miss the playoffs.

If that happens, all bets are off. Some believe that Todd Bowles is coaching for his job on these next few weeks, something that both Adam Schefter and Rick Stoud threw some water on. Bowles might be able to earn another year if the Bucs make the playoffs, rather than needing to win to ensure a return. Everyone seems to be in agreement that a loss on Sunday to Carolina could spell the end of Bowles in Tampa Bay.

There’s a lot on the line beyond a playoff spot on Sunday, and it’s almost fitting that the Bucs season comes down to a tense matchup against a team with only two wins.

Buccaneers vs. Panthers Week 18 start time and location

Things are all over the map for the final week of the season, but the Bucs are living in a realm of relative normalcy when it comes to the schedule. With games planned for both days of the weekend, the Bucs are set to kickoff at 1 pm ET on Sunday.

How to watch Buccaneers vs. Panthers Week 18

Unlike the first time these two teams met, this game will be broadcast on FOX rather than CBS. Not to be superstitious, but the Bucs are winless in games not aired on CBS this month. Tampa Bay will need to reply on things on the field to make the difference, which is no sure thing given how they looked last weekend.

The Bucs didn’t look so great against the Panthers the first time around, so here’s to hoping that changes too.

Here’s everything you need to know to catch the game:

  • Date: Sunday, January 7th
  • Start Time: 1 pm ET
  • Location: Bank of America Stadium | Charlotte, NC
  • TV Channel: FOX
  • Announcers: Kenny Albert, Jonathan Vilma
  • Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket | Fubo

FOX isn’t sending their top crew out to Charlotte, even if having Greg Olsen there for what could be his final regular season announcing gig would be cool. Kenny Albert and Jonathan Vilma will instead be on the call with Olsen and Kevin Burkhardt in the nation’s capital for the Cowboys-Commanders game.

Buccaneers injury report for Week 18 vs. Panthers

One of the biggest concerns throughout the week was the status of quarterback Baker Mayfield. He took a nasty cheap shot from Tyrann Mathieu near the end of last week’s game, one that drew a penalty but also tossed Baker’s availability into question.

He briefly left the game on Sunday but returned after a long video review to end up not missing a down. Despite that, he sounded less than optimistic earlier in the week about how he was feeling and the Bucs went as far as to give Kyle Trask first team reps to brace for the possibility of not having Mayfield against the Panthers.

Baker wasn’t the only Bucs player causing some anxiety. Tristan Wirfs didn’t practice on Wednesday and was limited on Thursday, although he returned on Friday. That’s when all of the good news finally rolled in and the cloud of doubt was lifted.

Todd Bowles said on Friday that everyone was a 'full go' for Sunday.

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