Kickoff: 4:25 p.m. ET
Live stream: The game can be live streamed through NFL Sunday Ticket.
TV coverage: FOX
The Bucs won just four games last season, earning themselves the No. 7 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, with which they selected wide receiver Mike Evans.
This offseason, Tampa Bay fired its head coach, Greg Schiano, and replaced him with former Bears head coach Lovie Smith.
Lovie Smith compiled an 81-64 record in Chicago and made the playoffs three times.
New Bucs quarterback Josh McCown threw for 1,829 yards in eight games for Chicago last season, with 13 touchdowns and one interception.
Doug Martin played in only six games last season after a rookie season in which he ran for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Tampa Bay is 7-13 against the Panthers over the last 10 seasons. The Bucs dropped both games last season, by scores of 31-13 and 27-6.
The Bucs have either swept or been swept by Carolina in the teams' two-game season series each year since 2009.
Tampa Bay has a record of 3-7 over its last 10 season openers.
The Bucs have made the playoffs twice since winning the Super Bowl in 2002-03.
Tampa's last playoff win was a 48-21 victory in Super Bowl XXXVII against the Raiders.
The Panthers made the postseason in 2013 for the first time since 2008, winning the NFC South with a record of 12-4.
Carolina's defense finished second to the Seattle Seahawks in both yards and points allowed per game last season. The Panthers gave up just 301.2 yards per game and 15.1 points per game.
Carolina drafted wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin out of Florida State with their first-round pick (No. 28 overall).
The Panthers have not won a playoff game since 2005.
Cam Newton made his second Pro Bowl last season after throwing for 3,379 yards and 24 touchdowns while rushing for 585 yards and six touchdowns during the regular season.
Carolina had five players join Newton in Hawaii: tackle Jordan Gross, center Ryan Kalil, fullback Mike Tolbert, defensive end Greg Hardy, linebacker Luke Kuechly and long-snapper J.J. Jansen. The Panthers return all of their Pro Bowl players from last season.
The Panthers last won a home playoff game in 2004 following the 2003 regular season.
Carolina has swept Tampa Bay two of the last three seasons.
Carolina is 2-8 in its last 10 season openers.
- Evan Webeck