The Bucs face only one divisionin the first half of the season - a good thing as they adjust to a new coaching staff. Another good thing: They avoid potential cold-weather games by traveling to Buffalo and Philadelphia early. But their nondivisional schedule is one of the toughest in the NFL, and they lost a home game to play the Patriots in London.
Prediction: 4-12, fourth in NFC South
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Michael Rushton, The Sports Network
Though nobody in Tampa Bay is saying it, the Bucs enter a 2009 season that is step one in a rebuilding project. The offense is in place, even if its signal-caller of the future might be holding a clipboard this year. The addition of Kellen Winslow to a nucleus that contains a young offensive line and weapons like Earnest Graham, Derrick Ward and Antonio Bryant seems to have Tampa set on the offensive side of things. However, the defense is going through a transitional period and a new scheme, and while the Buccaneers are electing to go young, those players will need some seasoning. The Bucs open the season with four games against the tough NFC East in the first five weeks and also play in a division with three other teams that are just better. ... It will be an accomplishment for Raheem Morris if he can keep his team out of the basement in the NFC South.
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Drew Magary, deadspin.com
Now that Chuckie has been fired and Derrick Brooks has been released, all remnants (save for the corpse of Ronde Barber) of the 2002 Super Bowl champs have been swept out of Tampa and replaced with the likes of Byron Leftwich and Derrick Ward, who most assuredly will not be the same kind of runner without the Giants offensive line in front of him. Also gone from the team is deep threat Joey Galloway, leaving the mercurial Antonio Bryant as the team's top receiver. ... The Bucs are in a rebuilding year and show no signs of having anything remotely resembling a distinct personality. Except for Stylez G. White. He's the best part of this inevitable 6-10 year.
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By the numbers
3-10 Bucs' record against the Cowboys, including 0-2 in the playoffs.
3-2 Bucs' record against the Cowboys in the past five.
148-107-1 Last year's combined record of this season's Bucs opponents, making it the fifth-toughest schedule in the NFL.
13-20 Bucs' record on opening day.
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How much confidence do you have in Raheem Morris' coaching staff?
Total votes: 1,163
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I'm shocked too to see the Bucs put up 27 on anyone, given Byron Leftwich is a statue and they're still adjusting to the new way of offensive play-calling, with Greg Olson (passing game) and Pete Mangurian (run game) running the show. But Leftwich gets outdueled at the end by Tony Romo, who's out to prove he's not the old Romo. Cowboys, 30-27.
Peter King, Sports Illustrated
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Watch out, Cowboys. Not that they will lose this game, but it will be close. The Cowboys trained inside all summer in San Antonio (Texas), and this one will be in the Tampa heat. The Bucs have enough weapons on offense to make this interesting. Kellen Winslow has a huge game here. Dallas wins by a little. Cowboys, 23-21.
Pete Prisco, CBSportsline
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In Week 1, you always go against a team that fired its offensive coordinator within the past 10 days. It's just the rule. Cowboys over Bucs.
Bill Simmons, ESPN.com