Bucs release 2009 schedule
Sat. 8/15 at Tennessee 8:00 PM WFLA
Sat. 8/22 at Jacksonville 7:30 PM WFLA
Thurs. 8/27 *MIAMI 8:00 PM FOX
Fri. 9/4 HOUSTON 7:00 PM WFLA
Sun. 9/13 DALLAS 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 9/20 at Buffalo 4:05 PM FOX
Sun. 9/27 N.Y. GIANTS 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 10/4 at Washington 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 10/11 at Philadelphia 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 10/18 CAROLINA 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 10/25 NEW ENGLAND (London) 1:00 PM CBS
Sun. 11/1 Bye Week
Sun. 11/8 GREEN BAY 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 11/15 at Miami 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 11/22 NEW ORLEANS ^ 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 11/29 at Atlanta ^ 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 12/6 at Carolina ^ 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 12/13 N.Y. JETS ^ 1:00 PM CBS
Sun. 12/20 at Seattle ^ 4:15 PM FOX
Sun. 12/27 at New Orleans ^ 1:00 PM FOX
Sun. 1/3 ATLANTA ^ 1:00 PM FOX
All times Eastern and subject to change
* Nationally-Televised Game
^ All Sunday afternoon games in Weeks 11-17 are subject to a time change as part of NFL's flex scheduling
Raheem Morris will make his NFL rookie head coaching debut against America's Team.
The Bucs host the Dallas Cowboys in the regular-season opener Sept. 13 and will have to navigate the beasts of the NFC East in four of their first five games.
After the Bucs' first-ever regular-season trip to Buffalo in Week 2 -- a balmy gift from the NFL schedule-makers if there ever was one -- Tampa Bay will play at home against the New York Giants Sept. 27 before consecutive road games at Washington and at Philadelphia.
Absent from the Bucs 2009 schedule are any primetime network television games, not a surprise for a team that missed the playoffs and has few marquee players.
Tampa Bay does not begin play against their NFC South rivals until Week 6 when the Bucs host Carolina. Then it's off to London for what is considered a 'home' game against the New England Patriots Oct. 25.
The issue could be settled by the time the Bucs begin a three-game stretch against NFC South teams in Week 11 by hosting the Saints Nov. 22. Tampa Bay then travels to Atlanta (Nov. 29) and Carolina (Dec. 6.)
Look, the Bucs already knew they were facing the fifth-toughest schedule in the NFL based on their opponent's 148-107-1 mark in 2008. Seven of those teams reached the playoffs last season. By comparison, the Bucs strength of schedule was 20th at the start of 2008.
There are some breaks. Not playing in Rich Stadium in Buffalo in icy conditions is one. Having the bye week at the midway point in the season is another. But the murderer's row of NFC East teams to start the year is a bad break. So is a Week 15 trip across country to Seattle.