Tampa Bay Buccaneers

What to Watch for: Buccaneers vs. Bengals

A few storylines to follow when the Buccaneers take on the Bengals on Monday night.


1. The best defensive tackle on the field.
On most days, Gerald McCoy is by far the best defensive tackle to take the field. But the Bengals have a stud defensive tackle themselves in Geno Atkins. Atkins is a three-time Pro Bowler (2011, 2012, 2014) and has been named to NFL Network's Top 100 twice in 2013 and 2014. But Atkins didn't make the list of top players in 2015 while McCoy was ranked 28th.

2. Jameis Winston's hunt for his first passing TD.
Winston scored his first NFL touchdown of his NFL career last week against the Vikings, but his score came on the ground. Winston is still looking for his first passing touchdown of his career. The Bucs are looking for their first passing touchdown of the season as well after the team scored both of its touchdowns on the ground against Minnesota. 

3. A win at Raymond James.
The last time the Buccaneers won a game at Raymond James Stadium was Week 14 of the 2013 regular season, and the Bucs are out to break that streak on Monday. A victory could end the drought while providing Winston a victory in his first-ever game in the stadium.  

4. The battle in the trenches.
The Bucs will be without tackle Demar Dotson, who suffered a left knee sprain in last week's game, and could be without fellow tackle Kevin Pamphile, who missed most of last week's practices with an injury. That could propel Reid Fragel, Patrick Omameh, Gosder Cherilus or Donovan Smith into the starting lineup on Monday. Also keep an eye on Ali Marpet, who could see time with the starters after an impressive week of practice.

5. Special teams heroes.
There are 90 players suiting up for Monday night's game and only 53 will make the roster for the regular season roster. For several players, the difference between making the team and being cut is their ability to perform on special teams. Wide receivers, in particular, have an opportunity to prove their value through work on special teams. Two players with the most to gain are Russell Shepard, who was one of the Bucs' top performers on special teams last year, and Kaelin Clay, who's slated to return punts and kicks for the team.

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