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Tampa Bay Buccaneers face good test against Cleveland Browns

Ron Schwane-USA TODAY Sports

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers will kick off their third and most important preseason game at 7:00 p.m. ET -- unless the storm heading through Tampa right now forces them to delay the game, that is. The weather has not been kind to the Bucs this preseason.

When they do take the field, they'll get to play the Cleveland Browns, which should make for an interesting game. The Browns have a strong defense overall, but present a particular challenge for Jameis Winston and Tampa Bay's young offensive line: they're a 3-4 defense with a very strong defensive line, and they love to blitz. That's a recipe for disaster, but also the kind of defense the Bucs are going to have to be able to beat with some regularity this season -- and every season, really.

On defense, the story's different. The Bucs should be able to do well against Josh McCown and a lackluster group of receivers, but the real challenge will be getting a pass rush going against a strong offensive line. That's going to be key for the defense this season, and tonight's as good a test as any.

Both teams will be without some key players, though. For the Bucs, defensive end Jacquies Smith is once again out, giving Henry Melton another start. Slot cornerback Leonard Johnson and wide receiver Kenny Bell have been ruled out, diminishing both players' chances of making the team -- though Bell's likely to stick regardless. Jacquies Smith can't dress again, which has been Mike Evans is also out for the rest of the preseason, as are Akeem Spence and Demar Dotson with longer-term injuries.

And in a surprise move, Major Wright will miss tonight's game -- probably due to the same family issues that kept him out of yesterday's practice. D.J. Swearinger starts in his place, which will be interesting to watch. Noteworthy: Reid Fragel starts over Gosder Cherilus again, for some unfathomable reason.

For the Browns, Johnny Manziel will not suit up, and starters Barkevious Mingo and Justin Gilbert are out as well, as are rookie DE Nate Orchard and receiver(!) Terrelle Pryor.

Treat this as your first open thread for the game. Go Bucs!