Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Storylines to Follow: Bucs-Titans

Five things to look for when the Bucs take on the Titans on Sunday.


1. Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota.
Both Winston and Mariota emphasized that Sunday's game is much more than their individual matchups against each other, but the game does hold historic significance. In NFL history, quarterbacks drafted first and second have never met in the season opener. And a victory on Sunday would propel one of those rookies to their first professional victories of their careers.

2. The battle in the trenches.
With two rookies set to line up at quarterback, a common word thrown around the Bucs' and Titans' facilities this week was "pressure." Similarly, both teams' offensive linemen spoke of how important it was to keep their young passers off the turf. Keep an eye on how often each defense blitzes throughout the game.

3. A victory at Raymond James Stadium.
The Bucs are looking for their first home victory since December of the 2013 season. A victory would also be Head Coach Lovie Smith's first home win with the Buccaneers. "One of our goals is to win all our home games," Smith said. "You have to get started with the first one. In an ideal world you want to start off at home and use that home crowd."

4. The next man up at wide receiver.
On Friday, Mike Evans said that there was no official word on whether or not he would be playing on Sunday and that he hoped he'd be on the field. As of Friday, he was listed as questionable on the injury report. If Evans can't go, that would leave the Bucs with just four healthy wide receivers and will propel either Adam Humphries or Russell Shepard into the No. 3 spot, with Vincent Jackson and Louis Murphy at No. 1 and 2. Humphries secured a spot on the 53-man roster after a standout performance in the Bucs' final preseason game.

5. Regular season debut for specialists.
The Bucs had the fourth-best special teams unit in the NFL last year, according to Pro Football Focus. But the team will have new starters at punter and kicker to begin the 2015 season. Both kicker Kyle Brindza and punter Jacob Schum will be making their regular season debuts after Brindza outlasted Patrick Murray for the kicking job and Schum earned the nod over Michael Koenen to be the team's punter. Both players excelled in the preseason.

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