WHERE: Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
WHEN: Saturday, Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m. ET. on UPN 44
LAST WEEK: The Patriots improved their preseason record to 2-0 last week with a 23-8 win over the Carolina Panthers. Quarterback Drew Bledsoe and backup QB Tom Brady were both impressive. Bledsoe completed 9-of-16 passes for 73 yards and an interception while Brady completed 11-of-18 passes for 122 and a touchdown.
The Patriots defense was solid again, holding their opponent without a score until late in the third quarter when Carolina scored a touchdown. Up to that point, the Panthers' defense had not allowed a team to score a single point in six quarters. Rookie DT Richard Seymour was impressive, deflecting two balls and relentlessly rushing Carolina's quarterbacks.
Kicker Adam Vinatieri was the Patriots' offensive machine, drilling three field goals (23, 33, 37)against the Panthers.
The Buccaneers lost their second game of the preseason to the hometown Browns, 7-6. Kicker Martin Gramatica proved to be the only offensive threat Tampa Bay had, booting a 58-yard field goal and another from 43-yards away.
Tampa Bay's first team defense held Cleveland without a first down until two minutes into the second quarter.
The Bucs' offensive line was vastly improved from the week before against Miami. Quarterback Brad Johnson had much more time to throw against Cleveland, but still failed to lead the first team down the field for a touchdown.
THE LAST TIME THESE TWO TEAMS MET: The Buccaneers met New England twice at Foxboro Stadium last year in a span of three weeks. Their first meeting was a preseason game, where the Buccaneers defeated the Patriots, 31-21. Two weeks later in the regular season opener, the Bucs defeated the Patriots again, this time by a score of 21-16. Will their third meeting be a charm for the Buccaneers or Patriots?
BUCS-PATRIOTS SERIES: Tampa Bay is 4-1 against New England in preseason. This includes a 2-1 home record with wins in 1983 (41-21) and 1999 (45-14). After dropping their first meeting in preseason to the Patriots, the Buccaneers have won four straight.
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