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Panthers Vs. Buccaneers: Game Time, TV Schedule, Odds And More

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers head on the road to open their season against NFC rivals the Carolina Panthers.

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The Tampa Bay Buccaneers host the Carolina Panthers to open their 2012 NFL season, kicking things off with a game against their NFC rivals.

It's the Buccaneers' first season under head coach Greg Schiano, and they're hoping for better results than 2011's ten-game losing streak. They'll hope for Josh Freeman to return to his 2010 form (25 touchdowns, six interceptions) rather than his 2011 form (16 touchdowns, 22 interceptions). LeGarrette Blount looks to carry much of the rushing game, but he'll have help from first-round pick Doug Martin.

The Tampa Bay defense is likely to have its hands full with Cam Newton. His rookie year included 14 rushing touchdowns and a passing campaign that finished with 21 touchdowns and a record-setting 4,051 yards. Two draft picks will be starting on defense: second-round pick Lavonte David will start at linebacker and seventh-round pick Mark Barron will start at strong safety.

Tampa Bay is looking to start 2012 off on the right foot, but they'll need to make no mistakes and have a little bit of luck to do so.

Game Time: 4:25 p.m. ET
Television Coverage: FOX
Odds: Carolina is a 3-point favorite.

Stick with SB Nation Tampa Bay for more coverage of the Bucs in Week 1. For all things Buccaneers, head over to Bucs Nation.

Photographs by, thelastminute, turtlemom nancy , fesek, kthypryn, justinwright, sue_elias, pointnshoot, and scrapstothefuture used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.