Today the Carolina Panthers host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what on paper looks to be a NFC South Shootout. Carolina is coming off their most complete win of the season and looking to add to the momentum. Tampa Bay is banking on Fitzmagic to keep them in the playoff picture. One of these teams will walk off the field disappointed. The following is my prediction for the game, guaranteed to be accurate until it isn’t.
After facing the number one defense in the league last week, the Carolina Panthers face the twenty ninth ranked defense in the league today. One could assume that this would be much easier task and a 30+ point game for the Panthers is a sure thing. Unfortunately, long time Panthers fans know that this team can lay an egg against any opponent and have been known to play down to the level of the competition.
The Buccaneers defense performs much better against the rush, which isn’t great news for the Panthers’ second ranked rushing attack. If a high score is needed, it will likely come through the air. Luckily for the Panthers, they have two up and coming stars in Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore eager for the opportunity.
Here is where most of my concern lies today. The Buccaneers air assault ranks best in the league. It is so good that they maintain the number one offensive ranking overall without any running game to speak of. The good news here is that the Carolina is hitting their stride in the defensive secondary. Rookie corner Donte Jackson is in the defensive rookie of the year discussion and has far surpassed expectations. The Carolina Panthers will need another solid performance from him today if they hope to suppress the Buccaneers offensive plans.
I am taking the Cats today by a touchdown.
Carolina Panthers – 34
Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 27