Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What's Next: Bucs Welcome Panthers for Home Opener

The 2020 Buccaneers will play their first home game in Week Two – albeit in an empty stadium – with a second straight intra-division game against Teddy Bridgewater and the Panthers

Carolina Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater passes against the Las Vegas Raiders during the second half of an NFL football game Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

After falling to the Saints in New Orleans in their season-opener, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will play their first home game of 2020 on Sunday, Sept. 20 at Raymond James Stadium against the visiting Carolina Panthers. The Buccaneers will be seeking their first victory with six-time Super Bowl-champion Tom Brady at the helm of the offense.

The Bucs' second straight intra-division matchup is scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. ET kickoff, and it will be the first of two games the team plays without fans in the stands due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Buccaneers are hoping they will be able to open their gates in Week Six against the Green Bay Packers. The Bucs-Saints game in the Louisiana Superdome was also played without a crowd.

Both the Buccaneers and Panthers will be looking for their first wins of 2020. Tampa Bay lost the turnover battle and, largely for that reason, the game on Sunday against the Saints, 34-23. The Panthers played host to the Las Vegas Raiders in a back-and-forth affair that ended in a 34-30 victory for the visitors.

Though they lost on Josh Jacob's third touchdown of the game Sunday, the Panthers still made great use of one of the NFL's most consistently productive weapons, as running back Christian McCaffrey rolled up 134 yards from scrimmage and two touchdowns. Last year, the Buccaneers and Panthers split their two contests but Tampa Bay managed to hold McCaffrey to 110 yards of offense in those two matchups combined.

The Panthers did debut a new offensive weapon in their opener, as former Jets wide receiver Robby Anderson opened his Carolina career with 115 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. Anderson was the favored target of new Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, the former Saint who threw for 270 yards in his Carolina debut.

The Buccaneers will counter with a defense that held Drew Brees and the Saints to 270 total yards of offense, including 189 through the air. CB Carlton Davis provided much of the coverage in the opener on All-Pro WR Michael Thomas, who was limited to 17 yards on three receptions, his most unproductive game in almost three years.

After one week, both the Buccaneers and Panthers find themselves looking up at the Saints, a game back of the three-time defending NFC South champs. A second straight division matchup could prove critical in the Bucs' attempts to keep pace with their foes from New Orleans. It could also be Tom Brady's first win as a Buccaneer…and the 220th of his career in the regular season.

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