The NFL announced the preseason schedule on Wednesday and Tampa Bay will open the Lovie Smith era on the road at Jacksonville. Smith and the Bucs first home game will be Week 2 against the Dolphins. Tampa Bay will also travel to Buffalo before closing out the exhibition season at home hosting the Redskins.
New Bucs head coach Lovie Smith’s return to the sideline at Raymond James Stadium won’t happen until Week 2 of the preseason as it was announced on Wednesday that the Buccaneers will open the exhibition season on the road at Jacksonville.
After their Week 1 preseason opener against the Jaguars, the Buccaneers will play their first home game of the Lovie Smith era when Tampa Bay hosts another interstate rival, the Miami Dolphins.
This pairing continues the tradition of Tampa Bay’s longest-running preseason series and marks the 14th consecutive season and 29th time overall that the two clubs have faced off in the preseason.
Miami leads the overall series, 16-12, but Tampa Bay has come out on top in eight of the last 12 preseason meetings, including for the last three consecutive seasons (2011-13).
Week 3 sees the Buccaneers travel to Buffalo to face former receiver Mike Williams who was traded to the Bills last Friday for a sixth-round draft pick. The third preseason game is normally the game where the starters play the most, sometime going into the third quarter.
For the second consecutive season, the Buccaneers close out their preseason schedule hosting the Washington Redskins in Week 4 (August 28). The preseason finale will give players a final opportunity to make their case for a roster spot before reduction to the 53-man active roster occurs.
Specific dates and times for the preseason haven’t been announced just yet, only the four opponents.
The regular season schedule is expected to be released on April 17.
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