All it took was four weeks for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to flip the script and start commanding respect around the league.
Tampa Bay was an afterthought in the wake of Tom Brady retiring, and experts buried them and their chances of being success this season. From being tabbed as a team tanking to being called the second-worst team in the league, almost everyone was out on the Bucs once Brady left.
Most of those takes have aged about as well as investing in crypto, as the Bucs head into their bye week 3-1 and alone atop the NFC South. When the team returns to business in Week 6, they'll be doing so in a game that the NFL is flexing into one of its prestigious nationally televised windows.
On Monday the NFL announced that the Bucs next game -- which is a Week 6 tilt against the Detroit Lions -- will move to the 4:25 pm ET window. That means the creamsicle game just became one of the marquee games on the league's schedule in two weeks.
Whether this will become the FOX Game of the Week is unclear, but it seems pretty likely that it will. That means Joe Davis, Greg Olsen, and the top production team for the NFL on FOX will be in Tampa Bay for the game.
It's quite the endorsement of not only the Bucs but the Lions as well. When the schedule came out, this game didn't seem like much more than another early slate matchup that local markets would see. Detroit and Tampa Bay have changed perceptions about them over the first few weeks, and it's looking like the NFC Central throwback will feature a pair of first place teams.
The fact that it's the Bucs creamsicle game only makes the decision to flex the game into FOX's premium broadcast slot even more amazing.