The New England Patriots will begin the 2007 preseason at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Buccaneers. After that they return home to host the Titans in Foxboro, then back on a plane for their only nationally televised appearance, a week 3 matchup against the Panthers on a Friday night. Then the Patriots wrap up their preseason against the Giants at home in Foxboro.
Tampa Bay struggled horribly last season after losing starting quarterback Chris Simms to a spleen injury. The Buccaneers ended up 4-12 and in prime position for one of the top draft spots in the 2007 NFL Draft. Tampa Bay acquired Jeff Garcia (Eagles) and Jake Plummer (Broncos) during the off-season in an effort to improve their play at the position.
The Titans game will be the first rematch between the two clubs since the Patriots demolished the Titans 40-23 on Dec. 31st, 2006. It was a game that saw plenty of records fall. Corey Dillon passed O.J Simpson on the all-time rushing leader list, while Asante Samuel notched his 10th interception (a career high) and Vinny Testaverde extended his own record of completing a touchdown in 20 consecutive seasons. It will also be the first time the Patriots face former New England receiver David Givens, who missed their last game with a knee injury.
The Panthers game is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXVIII, when the Patriots defeated Carolina on a last second field goal by Adam Vinatieri. The game began slowly then turned into a shootout that the Patriots emerged with a 32-29 victory. It is still regarded as one of the best Super Bowl games in modern day histoy.
The Giants game will be a repeat of the last time these two teams met during the preseason in 2006. This year is considered to be Eli Manning's make-or-break season according to many NFL pundits. With the retirement of Tiki Barber and the release of Corey Dillon, both clubs will feature a matchup of sophomore running backs Brandon Jacobs vs. Laurence Maroney. The team will also meet during the regular season.
Here are the preseason weekly dates:
Week 1 (Aug. 9-13): Patriots @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Week 2 (Aug. 16-20): Patriots vs. Tennessee Titans
Week 3 (Aug. 23-27): Patriots @ Carolina Panthers
Week 4 (Aug. 31-Sep. 2): Patriots vs. New York Giants
The NFL is expected to release its entire regular-season schedule Thursday afternoon
The Patriots 2007 regular season opponents are:
San Diego Chargers