Will this Sunday be the final nail in the coffin for Todd Bowles and the Bucs coaching staff, or will it be the first step toward saving the season and getting back in the playoff race?
That's the awkward spot the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are in, as they're equal distance from firing everyone and getting a Top 10 draft pick as they are from hosting a playoff game in January. The NFC South is a tight race, and the 4-7 Bucs are still very much in the thick of things and can gain even better positioning with a win over Carolina on Sunday.
Of course, the Bucs have so badly beaten fans into submission this year that expectations are grim. Carolina fired head coach Frank Reich last week, a move that has some assuming the 1-10 Panthers will come out with a new fire in their belly and pull off an upset on Sunday.
If that happens, it's time to pack it in. Bowles has repeatedly grabbed the wheel of the cringe car by saying the Bucs are only a game out of first place, but the reality is the distance feels much bigger than that. Perhaps the gap can be closed on Sunday, but we'll need to see it before we believe it.
What channel is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game on today? (December 3rd)
For the second time this season the Bucs have been flexed into the late window, but for horrifically different reasons than thr first time around. Back in Week 6 the Creamsicle game against Detroit was flexed into the America's Game of the Week slot since it looked to be a potential playoff preview between two first place teams.
Tampa Bay has won exactly once since then -- with the Lions game being among the six losses since the bye week -- which put them in a very different circumstance for a flex this week. The NFL didn't explain its reasoning, but the Bucs-Panthers game replaced the Broncos-Texans game which moved up to the 1pm ET window.
Logic suggests that the NFL wants as many eyes as possible on the Eagles-49ers matchup on Sunday afternoon, and a game with massive AFC playoff implications against two surprise teams could distract viewers.
It says a lot about where the Bucs stand that they're viewed as a replacement team no one will be bothered to watch and steal views from the marquee FOX game this week. Tampa Bay and Carolina will be broadcast on CBS, which was always on the schedule but afforded the league a chance to move thigns around without causing much chaos.
Here's everything you need to know to catch the game:
- Date: Sunday, December 3rd
- Start Time: 4:05 pm ET
- Location: Levi's Stadium | Santa Clara, CA
- TV Channel: CBS
- Announcers: Tom McCarthy, James Lofton, Jay Feely
- Radio: WXTB 97.9 FM | More Radio Affiliates
- Live Stream: NFL Sunday Ticket | Fubo
This will be the only late game on CBS this week, which was part of the move to flex the Broncos-Texans game out and replace it with the Bucs-Panthers.