Sep 10, 2023 - Sports

New look Bucs get their chance in season opener vs. Minnesota Vikings

Baker Mayfield during a preseason game. Photo: Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers kick off their season today with the envious task of rebuilding after saying goodbye to the greatest quarterback of all time.

Driving the news: The Bucs open the season on the road against the Minnesota Vikings. Kickoff is at 1pm on CBS.

Catch up quick: Todd Bowles is entering his second year as head coach. Last year, he took the team to the playoffs despite an 8-9 regular season record.

  • The team was also led by seven-time Super Bowl winner Tom Brady. But they never got into a groove and were eliminated in the wild-card round of the playoffs.

What we're watching: What is the identity of this team? Tampa Bay hired a new offensive coordinator this offseason, Dave Canales, to replace Byron Leftwich after the offense looked stagnant much of last season.

  • They also have a new signal caller in Baker Mayfield who, despite being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 draft, has a career 31-38 record.

Reason for hope: The NFC South isn't projected to be a strong division. All four teams finished with a losing record last year. Tampa Bay was the only team to make the playoffs with more losses than wins.

Plus: The Bucs should have a relatively easy schedule. The combined record last season of the teams they play against this year equals a .483 winning percentage, good for 11th easiest in the league.

Yes, but: All three of their division rivals — the Falcons, Saints and Panthers — have an even softer schedule.

💭 Our thought bubble: Expectations for Tampa are low and rightfully so. Anytime a team goes through a quarterback transition, you can expect it to be a rocky year or two. But that gives the Bucs a lot of space to prove people wrong.

Who wins: The Vikings are 5.5-point favorites in this one. But games aren't played on paper.

Go deeper: Four must-watch games this season

avatar

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Tampa Bay.

More Tampa Bay stories