After an extended period of time between preseason games (nine days), the Buccaneers return to a place where they won zero games in last season – Raymond James Stadium.
Monday night’s inter-conference matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals will feature a handful of position battles and new starters (who Lovie Smith said would play into the second quarter) since last Saturday’s loss in Minnesota. On offense, Gosder Cherilus and Reid Fragel will try to earn the right to replace Demar Dotson at right tackle. And on defense, Bruce Carter and Danny Lansanah will battle to start at Sam linebacker after Kwon Alexander has unseated Carter at middle linebacker, at least for the time being. The game will also include the NFL debut for camp standout Rannell Hall, who missed last week because of a hamstring injury. The UCF product joins an already crowded receiving corps, with numerous young guys vying for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Of course, the center of attention will be quarterback Jameis Winston and his progression from Week 1 to Week 2. While the rookie had a few early misfires in Minnesota, he was able to put together a nice drive in the second quarter and impress coaches by the way he finished. Now, they’ll look to see if he can take small steps forward on Monday night, from improved chemistry with receivers (especially Mike Evans and Austin Seferian-Jenkins who were held without a catch in Week 1), to a faster start.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)
Monday August 23, 2015, 8:00 p.m. ET
Raymond James Stadium (67,000)
Network Television: ESPN
Play-By-Play: Mike Tirico Analyst: Jon Gruden Sideline: Lisa Salters
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, Flagship Station (103.5 FM, 620 AM & 95.3 FM)
Play-By-Play: Gene Deckerhoff Analyst: Dave Moore Sideline: T.J. Rives
Last Game: Tampa Bay Lost vs. Minnesota, 26-16 & Cincinnati Won vs. New York Giants, 23-10
Pewter Report’s Predictions
Scott Reynolds: Bucs 23-20
Mark Cook: Bucs 23-13
Eric Horchy: Bengals 28-20
Zach Shapiro: Bucs 21-20