Tampa Bay Buccaneers

First Four: 2011 Preseason Revealed

The Bucs' much-anticipated 2011 campaign will begin on national TV as the team makes its first summer trip to Kansas City since 1999

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will begin their 2011 preseason slate in Kansas City and end it in the capital, two sites they haven't visited for warm-up games in a dozen years.  They will also open the campaign in front of a nationwide audience.

The NFL released the entire 2011 preseason schedule on Tuesday and, for the Buccaneers, it looks quite a bit different than it has in recent years.  The schedule currently includes opponents and the weeks they will play, with only the national TV games holding specific dates.

In addition to their first preseason road games against the Chiefs and the Washington Redskins since 1999, the Buccaneers run-up to the regular season also includes some immediate national exposure.  The Buccaneers and Chiefs will meet at Arrowhead Stadium on the evening of Friday, August 12 in a game to be broadcast nationally by FOX.  That will mark Tampa Bay's first nationally-televised preseason game since a 10-6 loss to the Miami Dolphins at home in August of 2009.

Between the opener at Kansas City and the finale against the Redskins, the Bucs will play back-to-back home games against Miami and New England.  Here is the Buccaneers' 2011 weekly preseason schedule:

DATE

OPPONENT

PRESEASON SERIES

Week 1 (Aug. 12, Nat'l TV-FOX)

at Kansas City

Tampa Bay leads 4-1

Week 2 (Aug. 18-22)

NEW ENGLAND

Tampa Bay leads 7-1

Week 3 (Aug. 25-28)

MIAMI

Miami leads 16-9

Week 4 (Sept. 1-2)

at Washington

Series tied 5-5

The Buccaneers' 2011 preseason is also notable for what it does not contain: any matchups with the Houston Texans or the Jacksonville Jaguars.  Tampa Bay has played both Houston and Jacksonville every season since 2002, alternating each year between home and road contests.  The Texans and Buccaneers, in fact, have ended each preseason schedule against each other since Houston joined the NFL as an expansion team in '02.

The Buccaneers will be continuing an even longer preseason streak against the Miami Dolphins, however.  The Dolphins' Week Three visit to Raymond James Stadium will continue a run of 11 straight preseasons the two Florida rivals have squared off.  It is no surprise, given their proximity, that the Dolphins are Tampa Bay's most common preseason opponent of all-time, with 25 prior meetings between the two teams.  Miami holds a 16-9 edge in the series.

The Chiefs are the other holdover from last year's list of preseason opponents.  The Buccaneers defeated Kansas City, 20-15, in an August 21 game played at Raymond James Stadium last summer, marking the first preseason meeting between the two teams since 2000.  The Bucs and Chiefs have only played five preseason games together, three in Tampa, one in Kansas City and one at a neutral site.  The Bucs' only loss in the series was that neutral-site game, a 1998 trip to Norman, Oklahoma to play in the home of the Oklahoma Sooners.  The Buccaneers played only away or neutral-site games that summer as construction was completed on Raymond James Stadium.

Tampa Bay's last preseason game against the Redskins occurred in 2002, as Washington visited RJS and left with a 40-10 victory.  The Bucs' 1999 pair of road warm-ups was the same as what they will play this summer, even ending against the Redskins again.  The Bucs have played Washington fairly frequently in preseason play, however, with 10 previous meetings that have been split down the middle, five wins apiece.  Nine of those 10 games were played in Tampa. 

The Buccaneers and Patriots are fairly familiar with each other in preseason play, as well, having met eight previous times and as recently as 2008.  The Buccaneers have dominated that series, winning seven of the eight games, including a 27-10 decision in that '08 contest played at Raymond James Stadium.  New England also visited Tampa in 2007 and 2001 and, in fact, the Buccaneers have been home for six of those eight games.  In 1990, the Buccaneers and Patriots played a neutral-site game at the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, with Tampa Bay prevailing, 44-10.

This marks the fourth straight season that the Buccaneers have opened their preseason with a road game, and the second year in a row that they also finished away from home.  This is also the fourth straight preseason in which Tampa Bay will be at home in Week Three.

The specific dates for the final three games and the starting times for all four games will be announced at a later date.  The games in preseason Weeks Two and Three could fall anywhere between Thursday and Sunday, and the Week Four contest will be played on either Thursday or Friday.

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