Week 1: at Miami Dolphins, 1:00 PM
In the first matchup of the season, the Bucs will face in-state rival the Miami Dolphins. The Bucs won the previous matchup 22-19 in the 2013 season on Monday Night Football. Miami had a 10-6 record last year which was good enough to clinch a playoff berth. While the Dolphins were bounced from the playoffs in embarrassing fashion to the Steelers, Miami made great strides under first-year head coach Adam Gase and will look to improve upon that in 2017.
Expect the Dolphins to run Jay Ajayi early and often and rely on their defense for stops. That same formula is what led them to their 10-6 record including a six-game winning streak. However, that formula will not work against Tampa because they already had a strong run defense and they upgraded it with the addition of DT Chris Baker. They will be ready for Ajayi.
The Bucs offense will also cause problems for the Miami D as Tampa is loaded with several passing options and a solid run game. Look for Tampa to jump out to an early lead and fight off a Dolphins comeback to preserve the win. The Bucs will simply be too much for Miami as they open the season with a victory.