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Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2011 Schedule: Opponents Determined

As you know, your Tampa Bay Buccaneers were eliminated from playoff contention on the last day of the regular season.  Unfortunately, all we can do is look forward to 2011.

With the regular season coming to an end, next year's opponents have been determined.  That is, of course, assuming NFL teams play a normal, 16-game schedule next year.

The scheduling formula implemented in 2002 with realignment guarantees that all teams play each other on a regular, rotating basis.  After the 2008 season, a decision was made to continue with the same rotation in 2011.

Under the formula, every team within a division plays 16 games as follows:

  • Home and away against its three division opponents (6 games).
  • The four teams from another division within its conference on a rotating three-year cycle (4 games).
  • The four teams from a division in the other conference on a rotating four-year cycle (4 games).
  • Two intraconference games based on the prior year’s standings (2 games).  These games match a first-place team against the first-place teams in the two same-conference divisions the team is not scheduled to play that season.  The second-place, third-place, and fourth-place teams in a conference are matched in the same way each year.
  • EXCEPTION:  Beginning in 2010, a change was made to how teams are paired in the schedule rotation to ensure that teams playing the AFC and NFC West divisions would not be required to make two west coast trips (e.g. at San Francisco and at Seattle), while other teams in their division had none (e.g. at St. Louis and at Arizona).

For the 2011 Buccaneers, it means six games against the NFC South (Atlanta, Carolina, New Orleans), four games against the NFC North (the Bucs' old NFC Central conference foes -- Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota), four games against the AFC South (Houston, Indy, Jacksonville, Tennessee), and two against fellow third-place finishers from the NFC West (San Francisco) and the NFC East (Dallas).

For those of us thinking about getting season tickets to the Buccaneers games in the upcoming season, we will see home games against:

  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Chicago Bears
  • Detroit Lions
  • Dallas Cowboys
  • Houston Texans
  • Indianapolis Colts

Road trips in 2011 include contests with: 

  • Atlanta Falcons
  • Carolina Panthers
  • New Orleans Saints
  • Green Bay Packers
  • Minnesota Vikings
  • San Francisco 49ers
  • Jacksonville Jaguars
  • Tennessee Titans

Again, this assumes a 16-game schedule.  If the NFL adopts an eighteen-game regular season for 2011, they will have to alter the formula somewhat, perhaps adding 2 to the above, or coming up with a completely different schedule.

Also, specific dates have not yet been determined.  The NFL typically releases the official NFL schedule, with playing dates and times, in the spring.  Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations between owners and players may alter that timeline as well.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.