While NFL fans across the country remain optimistic that a new collective bargaining agreement can take place between the NFL owners and players to end the current lockout and ensure that the 2011 season will take place uninterrupted, the league showed its optimism on Tuesday by releasing the preseason schedules for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the other 31 franchises.
The Bucs will open the 2011 preseason at Kansas City on Friday, August 12 in a nationally televised game between two teams that finished the 2010 campaign with surprising 10-6 records. The Chiefs made the playoffs while the Bucs fell just short.
This marks the fourth straight year the Bucs will begin the preseason on the road, and the second straight year the Bucs and Chiefs have faced each other in the preseason. Tampa Bay prevailed last year, 20-16, and holds a 4-1 record against Kansas City in the preseason.
Tampa Bay returns home for a pair of games against New England and Miami before finishing the preseason with a trip to Washington to play the Redskins, a team the Bucs beat 17-16 last December in a wild finish. Exact times and dates for the final three preseason games will be determined later.
BUCS 2011 PRESEASON SCHEDULE
Week 1: Tampa Bay at Kansas City (national TV on Fox) Friday, August 12
Week 2: Tampa Bay vs. New England Patriots TBD
Week 3: Tampa Bay vs. Miami Dolphins TBD
Week 4: Tampa Bay at Washington TBD
Home games are in bold.
While it may come as a surprise is that familiar preseason opponents, such as Houston and Jacksonville are not on the exhibition schedule, that is likely due to the fact that the Bucs will play both teams during the regular season as it takes on the AFC South this year. Although that has not stopped the long-standing preseason rivalry between the Bucs and Dolphins in years past.