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Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Gameday- Buccaneers open 2018 at Saints

Florida Football Insiders

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Brett Davis- USA Today Sports

Who: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints (Superdome)

When: Sunday 1 p.m. Eastern

Spread: Saints by 9 1/2 (Courtesy Vegasinsider.com)

Why to watch:

Bucs open without Winston

Unless you have been in a coma or outer space, you are probably aware that Tampa Bay begins their season with franchise QB Jameis Winston suspended for the first three games of the season for violation of the NFL personal conduct policy.

That means that 14 year veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick (above) gets the start in the hostile environment against the NFC South champion Saints. The good news is that he was 2-1 as a starter last year, while Winston was nursing a sore shoulder. He also quarterbacked the second half of the Saints loss last October, which helps with familiarity with their personnel environment.

The further good news is that the Buccaneers are loaded at receiver including veterans Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. They will complimented by Chris Godwin and Adam Humphries and the Bucs may have the best pass catching tandem of tight ends in pro football in Cam Brate and O.J. Howard. So, weapons to throw to won’t be a problem.

Contain Kamara?

There is no mystery that while the Saints have a Hall of Fame QB in Drew Brees, but a large part of their success last year was predicated on Rookie of the Year running back Alvin Kamara. Kamara had a combined 1,500 yards from scrimmage and a combined 13 touchdowns rushing and receiving in 2017. He even showed versatility in the week 17 finale’ in Tampa Bay, when he ran back a kickoff 106 yards and a TD.

The Bucs will have to account for Kamara, especially on passes out the backfield, or it will be a long day for their defense.

And that leads to….

Rebuilt Bucs defensive line debuts

With the acquisitions of Jason Pierre-Paul, Vinny Curry and Beau Allen back in March, Tampa Bay has gotten perennial Pro Bowler Gerald McCoy some veteran help. While Bucs first round pick defensive tackle Vita Vea won’t play due to a calf strain, he is making progress to come back soon.

Also, the Bucs picked up Browns surprise cut, DE Carl Nassib, who started for Cleveland 15 times in the last two seasons.

Tampa Bay also has a new defensive line coach in Brentson Buckner, who has visibly motivated and energized their unit in training camp and preseason.

Now, it will be time to see what they and their teammates can do Sunday afternoon in “The Big Easy.”

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