Buccaneers at Falcons: Preview, Where to Watch and Listen
By Bailey Adams
The Buccaneers will take on the Falcons in Atlanta on Sunday to open up their 2016 regular season. Tampa Bay is looking to make it three straight wins against the Falcons as head coach Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mike Smith return to take on their former team.
The preseason has come and gone, which means it’s time for the Buccaneers to gear up for their 41st season. After going on a four-game losing streak to finish last year 6-10, Tampa Bay has a new coaching regime yet again. The 2016 schedule is a tough one, but there is enough talent on the roster for the Bucs to power their way through it.
Tampa Bay has struggled in season openers throughout its history, going just 15-25. Part of that record includes an 8-12 mark on the road, which Dirk Koetter’s team will be looking to improve upon this Sunday. The Tampa Bay offense is looking to build off of its breakout 2015 season, with quarterback Jameis Winston entering his second season. Doug Martin is back with a new contract, joined again in the backfield by Charles Sims. The receiving corps will look similar to last year, featuring Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson, Adam Humphries and now Cecil Shorts. Some injuries affected the offensive line during the preseason, but the Bucs should only be missing newcomer J.R. Sweezy on Sunday.
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The Tampa Bay defense has a new look under Mike Smith, adding Robert Ayers and Noah Spence to a defensive line that already consists of talent such as Gerald McCoy and Clinton McDonald. Kwon Alexander and Lavonte David will continue to lead the linebacking corps, while the secondary is looking to take a step forward with the additions of Brent Grimes and Vernon Hargreaves. The Bucs will also debut a new special teams unit on Sunday. Second-round pick Roberto Aguayo will be taking on the kicking duties. The punting job was decided in the preseason, with 2012 third-round pick Bryan Anger beating out Jacob Schum.
The Falcons are coming off of an 8-8 season that saw them start 5-0 before falling apart. Atlanta boasts a strong offensive threat with Matt Ryan at quarterback, Devonta Freeman in the backfield and a top talent in Julio Jones at receiver. The Falcon defense was average a year ago, but the team is hoping that the unit is stronger this year with the additions of Dwight Freeney, Keanu Neal, Courtney Upshaw and Derrick Shelby.
The last time the two teams met, the Bucs won 23-19 in Tampa. Jameis Winston scrambled to convert a 3rd-&-19 late in the game before finding Mike Evans for a game-winning touchdown with 1:39 left.
WHERE TO WATCH: Fox will have the broadcast on Sunday. Sam Rosen will have the play-by-play, with David Diehl joining him in the booth as the color commentator. Holly Sonders will have reports from the sidelines.
WHERE TO LISTEN: The Bucs’ radio broadcast can be heard in the Tampa area on 103.5 FM or 620 AM. As always, the legendary Gene Deckerhoff will have the play-by-play, while Dave Moore takes the color commentary duties. T.J. Rives will have the sideline reports. For other options around Florida, check here. Fans can also listen to the game on Buccaneers.com or the Buccaneers’ mobile app.
Satellite radio subscribers can catch the Bucs’ broadcast on Sirius 146, and the Falcons’ version on Sirius 84.
Next: Buccaneers at Falcons: Biggest Challenges
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