With the Panthers coming off a big win at home against the Jaguars and ‘Minshew Mania’, the game this weekend against the Bucs has grown increasingly more important. The Panthers need a win to keep pace with the division-leading Saints.
Last Weeks Results
Tampa: Lost @ NO 31-24
Carolina: Won vs JAX 34-27
I expect another high scoring game from both of these teams. The Bucs are 5th in PPG averaging nearly 30 pts. The Panthers have put up 38, 16 and 34 pts respectively, in the last three games. With a Tampa secondary that ranks as one of the lowest in the NFL (31st in pass yards allowed), I anticipate the Panthers to attack the Bucs secondary with quick passes. Getting the ball in the hands of their playmakers in CMC, Samuel, Moore, and Olsen and let them create for themselves in space.
The Bucs will do what they always do, air it out to Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Cameron Brate and OJ Howard. Tampa has weapons that you have to respect and the Panthers can’t afford to take plays off or make mistakes. The Bucs will make you pay. Their Running game proved to be better than advertised in their week two win over Carolina as Peyton Barber churned out 82 yds and a TD. It might be in Tampa’s best interest to try to establish the run early though, as the Panthers are near the bottom of the league in rush yds allowed.
Tale of Two Defenses
The Bucs defense does rank near the top of the league in rush yards allowed (3rd in the NFL) so the Panthers will have to keep the defense off-balance early. Although running the ball is the Panthers bread and butter as they rank 4th in rushing yards and 2nd in rushing TDs. The Bucs allowed over 100 yds combined (rush and rec) to Alvin Kamara last week, who has a similar skill set to McCaffery. The Panthers should try to follow that blueprint. Carolina has been winning with a consistent yet explosive running game but this week I see Kyle Allen having to take that leap and be the difference in this game.
Carolina’s defense is a mixed bag, ranking top 5 in pass defense and bottom 10 run defense. The two biggest things the Panthers have done the past three wins are: Getting to the QB and creating turnovers. If the Panthers can pressure Winston into tough throws, it could easily lead to a turnover. Winston has been better though, only throwing one INT to six TDs in his last two games. The Carolina secondary has to be better this week after allowing Gardner Minshew II to throw for 374 and run for another 42 yds.
The Panthers are out for revenge after that awful week 2 showing at home against the Bucs. After amassing just 39 rushing yards in the Week 2 loss, I expect more from the running game this time around. Mainly, because we have a QB that can complete the pass you need to keep the defense on its heels. Carolina did not have that in week 2 as an injured Cam Newton routinely missed open receivers and as many would say, “Just didn’t look right…” Kyle Allen just being able to complete those passes, gives the Panthers a chance. I believe the Panthers get the win here in London for their first division win this season.
Panthers 31 Bucs 27