The Tampa Bay Buccaneers' 2009 regular season schedule, released today by the National Football League, includes seven games against 2008 playoff teams.
The Buccaneers open the 2009 campaign at home against Dallas on September 13, facing the Cowboys for the second straight season. Tampa Bay has won the last two meetings against Dallas at Raymond James Stadium and three of the last five overall in the series.
Tampa Bay travels to Buffalo for the first time in the regular season in franchise history in Week 2. The Buccaneers have played the Bills eight times, all in Tampa, and hold a 6-2 series advantage.
The 2008 NFC East champion New York Giants visit Raymond James Stadium in Week 3, beginning a three-week stretch against that division. The contest marks New York's first visit to Tampa since the NFC Wild Card contest following the 2007 season. The Buccaneers follow with road games at Washington and Philadelphia on October 4 and 11, respectively.
Tampa Bay and Washington will meet for the seventh time since 2003, including one playoff contest. The Buccaneers have won the last three regular season contests between the clubs. The Buccaneers will renew their rivalry with the Eagles, marking the ninth meeting between the two teams since 1999, including Tampa Bay's 27-10 win in the 2002 NFC Championship Game. The visit to Lincoln Financial Field will be the first for the Buccaneers since they knocked off the Eagles, 17-0, in the 2003 season opener in the first regular season game played in that stadium.
The Buccaneers open NFC South play in Week 6 when they host Carolina at Raymond James Stadium. These two rivals have combined to capture five of the seven NFC South titles since the inception of the division in 2002.
Tampa Bay will travel to London in Week 7 to "host" the New England Patriots in the latest installment of the NFL's International Series. It will mark the third straight year that the league has staged one of its regular season games in the United Kingdom. The contest will be played on October 25 with kickoff scheduled for 1:00 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcast by CBS.
The Buccaneers will enjoy their bye week in Week 8 before returning to action at home for the second straight year against Green Bay on November 8. The Buccaneers have won six of the last nine games played against Green Bay and six of the last seven games played at Raymond James Stadium.
After playing Miami more than any other team in the preseason, Tampa Bay will take on its Sunshine State rival for just the ninth time in the regular season, and the first time since 2005, on November 15 in Miami. The last meeting in Miami took place in 2000 with a 16-13 Tampa Bay win.
Tampa Bay begins a three-game stretch of divisional games starting in Week 11 when it hosts New Orleans on November 22. The Buccaneers then travel to Atlanta (Nov. 29) and Carolina (Dec. 6) in back-to-back weeks. Tampa Bay has claimed victories in five of its last eight trips to the Georgia Dome and has won two of the past four contests in Charlotte.
On December 13, the New York Jets will make their first visit to Tampa since the 2000 season. The last meeting between the clubs was a 14-12 Jets victory at the Meadowlands in 2005.
Week 15 brings a visit to Seattle for the Buccaneers, the fourth meeting in the last six years between Tampa Bay and the Seahawks. The Buccaneers wrap up the road portion of their schedule in Week 16 with a trip to New Orleans on December 27. Tampa Bay has won seven of the last 11 contests in the series with the Saints.
The 2009 schedule closes at home against the Falcons on January 3. The Buccaneers split the two-game set with the Falcons last season with each team winning at home. Since the inception of the NFC South in 2002, the Buccaneers hold a 9-5 series advantage over the Falcons.
All games will be broadcast on Tampa Bay flagship stations 103.5 FM WFUS and 620 AM WDAE and stations throughout Florida on the Buccaneers Radio Network.
The season again will utilize "flexible scheduling," in Weeks 11-17. In those weeks, the schedule lists the games tentatively set for Sunday night on NBC. Only Sunday afternoon games are eligible to be moved to Sunday night, in which case the tentatively scheduled Sunday night game will be moved to an afternoon start time. Flexible scheduling will not be applied to games airing on Thursday, Saturday or Monday nights.
A flexible scheduling move will be announced at least 12 days before the game. For Week 17, the change may be announced six days before the game. Flexible scheduling will ensure quality matchups on Sunday night in those weeks and give "surprise" teams a chance to play their way onto primetime.
Tampa Bay kicks off its preseason schedule on the road against the defending AFC South Champion Tennessee Titans on Saturday, August 15. The following week on Saturday, August 22, the Buccaneers travel to Jacksonville, marking the eighth consecutive preseason the two teams have met. Tampa Bay will open their home exhibition schedule in front of a nationally televised audience for the second consecutive season as they continue their longest-running preseason series with the 2008 AFC East Champion Miami Dolphins on Thursday, August 27 at 8:00 p.m. ET on FOX. For the eighth consecutive preseason, the Buccaneers conclude their exhibition slate against the Texans. The Buccaneers, who host this year's meeting on September 4, lead the all-time series 6-1.
News Channel 8 WFLA-TV is the official home of Buccaneers preseason football, and will produce three preseason games in 2009: at Tennessee, at Jacksonville and against Houston. This preseason will mark the fifth year that WFLA-TV will broadcast the games in High Definition.