Two clubs looking to build off of equally disappointing 2012 campaigns will square off in Miami on Saturday night in one of a dozen preseason matchups scheduled for this weekend.
Greg Schiano's winless Tampa Bay Buccaneers will make the trip southeast to take on the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium. The two Florida-based franchises are scheduled to meet again on Monday Night Football in Week 10, but this time around, the stakes will be much lower.
Both teams looked like potential playoff contenders midseason last year, but a 3-6 finish doomed the Dolphins, while a five-game losing streak from late-November through much of December killed the Bucs' hopes of reaching the postseason.
Here, we'll get you set with everything you need to know for Saturday night's showdown in South Beach.
When: Saturday, August 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami
Watch: WFLA Channel 8 (Tampa) WFOR Channel 4 (Miami)
Live Stream: Preseason Live (paid subscription required)
Spread: Dolphins (-3), according to Covers.com.
Buccaneers Injuries (via USA Today)
K Connor Barth, Out, Achilles
G Carl Nicks, Questionable, Toe
Dolphins Injuries (via USA Today)
TE Dustin Keller, Out, Knee
Buccaneers Player to Watch: Mike Glennon, QB
Josh Freeman may be the starting quarterback for the Buccaneers come Week 1 of the regular season, but rookie quarterback Mike Glennon is the player to watch for Tampa Bay in Saturday's clash with Miami.
The former NC State signal-caller completed 12 of his 22 passes for 121 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in the Bucs' most recent outing against New England. He completed 11 of 23 passes for 169 yards and a pick in Tampa Bay's preseason-opening loss to Baltimore.
ESPN NFL insider Chris Mortensen addressed the elephant in the room via Twitter after Glennon's impressive performance against the Patriots last week:
Mike Glennon does look comfortable. Wonder if Josh Freeman is getting uncomfortable. #Bucs— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) August 17, 2013
Tampa Bay drafted Glennon in the third round of the 2013 NFL draft last April, and so far, the 6'6" pocket passer has proven to be a worthwhile selection.
Dolphins Player to Watch: Mike Wallace, WR
Miami spent a lot of money on wide receiver Mike Wallace last spring in order to improve its downfield passing attack. In last weekend's preseason matchup with Houston, Wallace showed why the Dolphins chased him so aggressively in free agency.
The former Pittsburgh Steeler was targeted three times and came through on each occasion, catching three balls for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Wallace is averaging 17.2 yards per reception through his first four NFL seasons and is one of the premier deep threats in football. NFL fans will want to keep a close eye on him Saturday to see how he fares against an improved secondary that ranked dead last in the NFL a season ago.
Who will win this preseason matchup?
Expect the Dolphins to be energized playing at home for the first time this preseason. You can bet Miami will want to put on a strong showing for its home fans against the Bucs, who have yet to win this August, dropping previous matchups against Baltimore and New England.
In the two games Miami lost earlier this summer, the Dolphins played well and had chances to win, losing to Dallas by just four points in the Hall of Fame Game and getting beaten by just a touchdown at Houston last weekend.
Super Bowls aren't won in the preseason, and another loss for either team wouldn't be the end of the world. But someone's got to win, so look for the home team to come out on top in this Saturday night showdown.
Dolphins 27, Buccaneers 14
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