The Arizona Cardinals didn't quite get the perfect home opening they were hoping for, and they'll have another tough opponent in Week 2 when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town.
The Bucs are riding high off a strong season opener. They went on the road to face the Atlanta Falcons, and managed to overcome an early deficit to cruise to a 31-24 victory. Jameis Winston started the game off a bit slow, but by the second half he was taking aggressive shots down the field and they paid off. Winston hit Austin Seferian-Jenkins for a 30-yard score in the third quarter, and shortly afterwards put up a perfect dime for Mike Evans to catch in the end zone. The 2015 No. 1 overall pick finished the day with 281 yards, four touchdowns and an interception on 23-of-32 passing.
Tampa isn't a perfect team yet. Doug Martin struggled to get anything going, rushing for just 62 yards on 18 carries. The defense still has a lot of question marks and let Matt Ryan throw for 334 passing yards. Despite those deficiencies, the Bucs look like they're ready to take off in Winston's second year in the league.
The Cardinals had a golden opportunity to beat the New England Patriots, who were missing Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski, among many other key starters. However, Jimmy Garoppolo did just enough to pick the defense apart and the Patriots escaped Glendale with a 23-21 win after Chandler Catanzaro missed a last-minute field goal.
Despite the loss, the Cardinals have a lot to look forward to in 2016. Their big trade acquisition, Chandler Jones, terrorized New England's line all night. David Johnson continued to be a difference-maker, breaking off long gains and looking like one of the best all-around running backs in football. He finished his night with 132 total yards and a touchdown on 20 touches. Larry Fitzgerald looked like an ageless wonder, snagging eight catches for 81 yards and an awe-inspiring touchdown pass, keeping the Cardinals in the game late in the fourth quarter.
With that said, Arizona has some questions to answer. John Brown, normally a dynamic weapon in the passing game, was nowhere to be found Sunday night. He saw just four targets and had one catch for 8 yards. Brown struggled with concussion symptoms throughout the preseason, so the slow start may have been expected. If he's feeling better, look for him to get more work over the weeks. The Cardinals' offense thrives best when its three-receiver set of Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd and Brown is all making plays, opening up the running game for Johnson to do his thing.
This looks to be a fascinating matchup between a Super Bowl contender and an up-and-coming team. The Bucs want to prove that they're here to stay and Winston is a star in the making. The Cardinals want to get over their Week 1 disappointment and reassert their place atop the NFC pecking order. This should be one of the best games of the week if both teams play up to their strengths.
How to watch
When: 4:05 p.m. ET
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Ariz.
Announcers: Thom Brennaman, Charles Davis, Peter Schrager