The Bucs 2011 regular season schedule is out. The season opener will be at home against Detroit. The Bucs will host the Colts on Monday Night Football and the Cowboys on a Saturday night game on NFL Network.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2011 regular season schedule was released on Tuesday night. The Bucs will open the season by hosting the Detroit Lions at Raymond James Stadium. Detroit knocked Tampa Bay out of the 2010 playoffs with a December 23-20 overtime victory over the Bucs.
Tampa Bay is at home for two prime time games. They host the Indianapolis Colts on Monday Night Football on October 3. In Week 15 the Bucs will host the Dallas Cowboys on Saturday night. Kickoff for both games is at 8:30 PM.
Week 1 Detriot Lions at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM (Sunday 9-11) FOX
Week 2 Bucs at Minnesota Vikings 1:00 PM (Sunday 9-18) FOX
Week 3 Atlanta Falcons at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM (Sunday 9-25) FOX
Week 4 Indianapolis Colts at Tampa Bay 8:30 PM (Monday 10-3) ESPN
Week 5 Bucs at San Francisco 4:05 PM (Sunday 10-9) FOX
Week 6 New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay 4:15 PM (Sunday 10-16) FOX
Week 7 Chicago Bears at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM (Sunday 10-23) played in London, United Kingdom FOX
Week 8 bye week
Week 9 Bucs at New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM (Sunday 11-6) FOX
Week 10 Houston Texans at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM (Sunday 11-13) CBS
Week 11 Bucs at Green Bay Packers 1:00 PM (Sunday 11-20) FOX
Week 12 Bucs at Tennessee Titans 1:00 PM (Sunday 11-27) FOX
Week 13 Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM (Sunday 12-4) FOX
Week 14 Bucs at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 PM (Sunday 12-11) FOX
Week 15 Dallas Cowboys at Tampa Bay 8:30 PM (Saturday 12-17) NFLN
Week 16 Bucs at Carolina Panthers 1:00 PM (Saturday 12-24) FOX
Week 17 Bucs at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM (Sunday 1-1) FOX
Tampa Bay's games in Weeks 10-15 and Week 17 are subject to time changes under the NFL's flex scheduling format.
The last time the Buccaneers had a game in prime time was on Dec. 8, 2008 at Carolina. Tampa Bay lost that game 23-38 on Monday Night Football. The Bucs haven't had two games in prime time in the same season since the 2003 season when they were the defending Super Bowl Champions.
There is more history relating to Monday Night Football and the '03 season in the Bucs' 2011 schedule. The last time the Bucs hosted the Indianapolis Colts was in 2003 and was a notorious night for Tampa Bay as the Bucs blew a huge lead late in the fourth quarter to fall to the Colts 38-35 in overtime. Calling this year's game for ESPN is Jon Gruden, the head coach at the time for Tampa Bay. The loss to the Colts was a severe blow to Tampa Bay's 2003 season that ended in a 7-9 record.
The Bucs game against the Cowboys marks the first regular season game for Tampa Bay on national TV on NFL Network. The Buccaneers home game against Dallas is the final home game of the season at Raymond James Stadium as Tampa Bay concludes the season with road trips to Carolina and Atlanta. The previous visit of the Dallas Cowboys to Raymond James Stadium came in the season opener of the 2009 season. It was Bucs head coach Raheem Morris first game as head coach for Tampa Bay, and the Cowboys won the game 34-21.
The Buccaneers play the defending Super Bowl Champion Green Bay Packers on the road in November. Other than that game the Bucs do not have a true cold weather game in 2011. Tampa Bay has traditionally struggled in cold weather contests. Morris earned his first victory as head coach of the Buccaneers with a 38-28 win over Green Bay in 2009.
The game against the Chicago Bears is scheduled to be played in London, United Kingdom on Oct. 23, but if the NFL lockout is not resolved by August 1st the game will be moved to Tampa Bay.
In 2010 the Buccaneers feasted on the NFC West going 4-0. This year the Bucs will play the NFC North, which has produced three of the last four teams in the NFC Championship Game.
Tampa Bay went 6-2 on the road and 4-4 at home last year. The Bucs had one of their 10 wins come against a team with a winning record. It came in Week 17 when the Buccaneers beat the Saints after New Orleans had already clinched a playoff spot and didn’t play their starters for the entire game.
Last year, Tampa Bay had two close losses late in the game against the NFC South Champion Atlanta Falcons. The Bucs season finale at Atlanta could be a contest with the winner going to the post-season and the loser missing out on the playoffs.
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