Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Where the Road Begins

The Bucs will travel to Nashville for their first '09 game, a preseason opener against the Titans…Though specific dates for most games are still pending, Tampa Bay and Miami will play a nationally-televised game on August 27

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Michael Clayton and the Bucs last took on Miami in Tampa in the 2006 preseason; the rematch will be nationally televised

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will get a double dose of the road before playing before their home crowd — and a national audience — for the first time in 2009.

On Monday, the NFL released its full schedule for the 2009 preseason, at least in terms of which teams will face each other during the four weekends of warm-up games. With the exception of a handful of nationally-televised contests, the dates and times for the rest of the games have yet to be officially established.

The Buccaneers will open their '09 preseason with back-to-back road games at Tennessee and Jacksonville. The first will occur during the weekend of August 13-17, the second during the weekend of August 20-24.

Tampa Bay will then finish its preseason schedule with a pair of home games against Miami and Houston. The Buccaneers' tilt against the Dolphins, the defending AFC East Champions, will be broadcast nationwide by Fox on August 27. The capper against the Texans will occur on September 3 or 4.

Three of the four teams on this year's preseason slate are repeats from 2008 — Jacksonville, Miami and Houston. In fact, the Bucs have had the Jaguars, Dolphins and Texans on the docket every summer since 2002, and their string of preseason matchups with Miami actually extends unbroken back to 2000.

Not only will the Bucs and Texans do battle for the eighth straight summer, but once again they will conclude their preseasons together. Those two teams have been playing preseason finales against each other since the Texas came into existence in 2002, alternating home sites each year.

The new entry in the foursome of foes is Tennessee, which takes the place of New England from the last two years. Tampa Bay last took on the Titans in the preseason in 2005, also on the road.

Two of the Bucs' four preseason opponents in 2009 are coming off of playoff appearances in 2008. Like the Dolphins, the Titans are defending division champs, having taken the AFC South with a 13-3 record a year ago. Houston finished at 8-8 last season while the Jaguars were 5-11.

Tampa Bay's opener this summer will have an unusual dynamic in that it will not be the first game of the season for the Titans. Tennessee is slated to play the Buffalo Bills in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio on Sunday, August 9. That contest will kick off the 2009 preseason and is one of 11 games overall that will be broadcast across the nation. All 12 of the teams that made the playoffs in 2008 will be featured in at least one of those nationally-televised games.

The precise dates for the four games will likely be announced when the NFL releases the full-season schedule within the next few weeks. The Bucs' Week Three game has been set for Thursday, August 27th, and all preseason games in the last week are played on either Thursday or Friday. The Bucs will likely play on either Friday or Saturday evening in Weeks One and Two.

Here is a look at the team's approximate 2009 preseason slate:

Tampa Bay's 2009 Preseason Opponents

**Weekend Dates****Opponent****Network**
Week 1Aug. 13-17at TennesseeWFLA-TV
Week 2Aug. 20-24at JacksonvilleWFLA-TV
Week 3Aug. 27MIAMIFOX
Week 4Sept. 3-4HOUSTONWFLA-TV

The Buccaneers are 6-1 all-time in the preseason against Tennessee, including a 20-17 overtime win at The Coliseum in Nashville on August 12, 2005. All of the six previous meetings between the two teams occurred when the Titans were still based in Houston and known as the Oilers.

In contrast, Jacksonville has had the upper hand in the ongoing preseason series with the Buccaneers, having won five of the seven meetings, including all of the last five. The Jaguars prevailed last year, 23-17, in a game played at Raymond James Stadium on August 23. Tampa Bay's last victory in the preseason series came in 2003, a 10-6 decision also at Raymond James Stadium.

The Dolphins are Tampa Bay's most frequent preseason opponent, as ease of travel is emphasized during the preseason. The Bucs and Dolphins have already met 23 previous times in the preseason, seven more than Tampa Bay's next most common summer foe, Atlanta (16 games). The Dolphins lead the series, 14-9, but the Buccaneers have won the last two and five of the last seven. The two teams met in their respective preseason openers last year and Tampa Bay secured a 17-6 win in Miami.

A 16-6 victory in the preseason finale last summer made the Buccaneers 6-1 all-time in the preseason against the Texans. Houston's lone win in the series was a 16-13 decision at Reliant Stadium in 2006.

The Bucs will play only one of their four preseason opponents again during the regular season in 2009, as they are scheduled to take on the Dolphins in Miami. The Bucs and Dolphins have played far less frequently in the regular season, with a total of eight meetings that they have split down the middle. The Bucs have won the last three, in 1997, 2000 and 2005.

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