New England Patriots at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Preview

KANSAS CITY, MO - AUGUST 12: Quarterback Josh Freeman #5 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers drops back to pass against the Kansas City Chiefs during the first quarter on August 12, 2011 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Peter Aiken/Getty Images)

Today at 7:30 p.m. the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New England Patriots will open the second week of preseason. The Buccaneers will have their work cut out for them as the Patriots crushed the Jacksonville Jaguars last week in a 47-12 blowout victory. The Patriots didn't even play many of their starters including Tom Brady in that game, but won handily nonetheless. It isn't clear yet whether the Patriots will play their starters against the Buccaneers tonight, although they are expected to do so.

The Bucs dominated the Kansas City Chiefs last week in a 25-0 win at Arrowhead Stadium, but it will be much tougher sledding against the Patriots. The Bucs' young defensive linemen will face one of the best and deepest offensive lines in the NFL, while the secondary will have to limit a potent spread-based passing game that shredded opponents during the regular season last year. 

On the other side of the ball, the Bucs offense was competent but a little passive and lackluster last week. The Patriots defense will challenge the Bucs, although it's not a great defense by any stretch of the imagination. The secondary was particularly vulnerable last season, although experience alone should make it better this season. Certainly the Patriots defense will provide a better test than the Chiefs' defense last week. 

For those in the blackout radius, which extends roughly 90 miles around Raymond James Stadium, the game will be shown on NFL Network at 11:00 p.m. and on Channel 10 WTSP at 11:30 p.m. And you can always join us here in the Game Thread that will be up during the game. 

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