The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face the Carolina Panthers at home in their season opener as quarterback Josh McCown makes his debut in Tampa Bay.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers appear primed to possibly emerge as a dark horse contender this year, and they will look to prove that in their season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
The Buccaneers will start Josh McCown at quarterback after signing him to a two-year contract, and he has a plethora of weapons to throw to. This includes starting wide receivers Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans.
Running back Doug Martin is also primed to bounce back this season as he returns healthy. The defense received numerous upgrades in the form of defensive end Michael Johnson and cornerback Alterraun Verner.
Head coach Lovie Smith is a defensive guru, so he will look to make his team a top 10 or maybe even top five defensive unit.
This will make life difficult for Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, who has no reliable weapons to throw to other than tight end Greg Olsen and possibly rookie wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
Running backs DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart will have to take on a fierce Tampa Bay defensive line that consists of Johnson and defensive tackle Gerald McCoy.
Luckily for the Panthers, they also have a dominant defensive line that is capable of neutralizing Martin. If they can keep Martin from having a great game, McCown will be forced to take the wheel and this will make it difficult for the Buccaneers to win. However, home field advantage will give them a slight edge over the Panthers.
Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Panthers 20