Like football fans everywhere, we all can’t wait for the season to get underway. The excitement of training camp and the preseason can only partly satisfy our craving. We Bucs fans can’t wait for September 12th to get here. Each year, when the schedule is released, there are always a few games I look for: the season opener, the home opener (if the season opens on the road) and the first division game.
The Bucs open the 2010 season by hosting the Cleveland Browns. In addition to being the first game of the year, there are a few little side notes for this one. It marks the first time Kellen Winslow gets to play against his former team since being traded. Long time Bucs rival and former Carolina QB Jake Delhomme looks most likely to be the opening day starter for Cleveland and this game will probably mark the final chapter in that rivalry. It will also be the world’s much anticipated first look at the Mike Holmgren Cleveland Browns. I know every Bucs fan expects to win this one and carry the momentum forward into an even more important game in week two.
The first division game for the Bucs is in week two @ Carolina. Division games are always exciting but the first one of each season is special. We have a tough draw opening on the road against the Panthers, but a few of the Bucs improvements should provide an excellent test for the two headed monster that is their running game.
This will be Josh Freeman’s second start in Carolina, although I’m sure he’d like to forget his first visit. Last year Freeman went 23-44 and threw for 321 yards, but he also had 5 interceptions and no touchdowns. He will have a better game this year!
Living in LA, there is a melting pot of NFL fans that reside here, thank goodness for the NFL package! This atmosphere allows for weird and unusual rivalries to take form amongst friends. We manage to keep it friendly, though it does change our perspective for the games we are looking forward to most.
For me, the week 3 game versus the Pittsburgh Steelers is the one I cannot wait for. Of all the friends I have, there is no team more widely supported. Of course every year we talk some smack, but the intensity kicks up a few notches in the years when we get to play each other. Let’s just say I’ve had quite a blast with all the "excitement" of this past off season, but it was all in good humor.
In a quick analysis of the game, we are likely to see a very familiar face in Byron Leftwich as the Steelers' starting QB. This should prove to be a very opportune advantage for our defense and could be a deciding factor in the outcome.
Looking ahead on the schedule is widely discouraged amongst coaches and players, but we’re fans! So, aside from week 1 vs. Cleveland and week 2 @ Carolina, which game on the 2010 Bucs schedule are you looking forward to most?