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Carolina Panthers

Prediction – Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Today the Carolina Panthers take on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the first in a long series of must win games. You know, if you told me in July that Cam Newton would be having his best season as a pro, I would have just assumed the Carolina Panthers would be nearly undefeated. As it turns out, not even Cam Newton can save this team from itself every Sunday.

Offense

The Carolina Panthers should have no problem scoring today. Christian McCaffrey has been having a pro bowl caliber year and that trend should continue. He has proven that he was well worth a top ten pick.

What worries me is the possibility of Ron Rivera adding Devin Funchess back into the mix. As of this article, Funchess is listed as questionable. If he is activated it could throw a wrench into what has been the most impressive offense the Carolina Panthers have had in many seasons.

The NFL is getting away from tall lumbering receivers who don’t get separation. The new prototype is a fast receiver with sure hands. The reason for this is pretty easy to understand. The NFL has handcuffed defensive backs to such a degree that the physical stature of receivers is no longer as important. Bad news for Funchess, who has never played up to his size to begin with.

Defense

Last week the Carolina Panthers¬† discovered they had only two outside corners on their roster. That doesn’t seem smart. Pray that Bradberry and Jackson can stay healthy for the remainder of the season. If not, they have absolutely no hope against teams like New Orleans.

This is probably Marty Hurney’s greatest failure as GM this season. Keeping Damiere Byrd on the roster while serving no real purpose and neglecting a position of real need. Hurney hasn’t been a bad GM and his draft appears to be solid. But roster management causing self inflicted wounds could be cause enough for David Tepper to bring in one of his own guys (which he likely wants to do anyways).

Hopefully the Carolina Panthers can hold the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to under 30 points. Good lord, it pains me to type that. How the mighty have fallen.

Carolina Panthers – 34

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 30