The Tampa Bay Buccaneers open their renovated stadium with a game against the Los Angeles Rams, their nemesis of old. Both teams are 1-1, with a close win and a massive loss in the bag.
The Rams, of course, have some...issues at quarterback. First overall pick Jared Goff is a third-string quarterback, and they’re starting Case Keenum to run an anemic offense. Their defense is solid, at least, with a particularly impressive defensive line, but they simply cannot put points on the board.
The Bucs have the opposite problem: Jameis Winston mostly looks good, but their defense needs a lot of work — especially along the defensive line, where the Bucs will be missing starter Robert Ayers and backup Jacquies Smith, who tore his ACL two weeks ago.
Tampa Bay’s injury problems go deeper than that, though. Running back Doug Martin will miss three games, and certainly won’t suit up today, severely hampering their running game. Tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins was cut after a DUI, leaving the Bucs with no versatile, explosive players at that position. And the offense looked horrid last week against an admittedly strong Arizona Cardinals defense.
Meanwhile, the Bucs replaced the massively outdated video installation in Raymond James Stadium with some massive video boards, added an in-stadium app with multiple replay angles, stats and other features, and overhauled parts of the luxury and concession areas. This’ll be the first time Bucs fans will get to enjoy them during the regular season, after two lightly-visited preseason games.
This should be an interesting first game in the upgraded stadium. The Rams and Bucs look fairly similar this early on, but that should change as the season progresses. We’ll get a good indication of the directions both teams are headed in, today.
Rams vs. Buccaneers 2016
Time: 4:05 p.m. ET, Sunday, September 25
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Fla.
Odds: Buccaneers by 4.5
TV: FOX. The game will be shown in large parts of California and Florida. Full map here.
Announcers: Dick Stockton, Chris Spielman