Here we are at week two of the 2019 NFL season and the Carolina Panthers already have a “must win” on their plate as they host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Lose this game and there is nothing but football misery for the next 10 days.
Tampa Bay is not a good team. They are a bad team. But if you haven’t noticed the Carolina Panthers have now lost eight games straight where the opponent is actively trying to win.
The Carolina Panthers need less Christian McCaffrey. When Christian McCaffrey is 90% of the offense the Panthers are typically playing losing football. Instead, I would love to see Cam Newton spread the ball around. If the game ended with 7 players with multiple receptions I would be ecstatic.
Also, the Panthers need to come out and punch the Buccaneers in the mouth. A quick 14-0 score would break the will of the Bucs on this short week. The more they are allowed to stay in the game, the greater the chance of an upset.
The opportunities for turnovers will be there this evening, but the Carolina Panthers need to capitalize. They came close to getting multiple turnovers against the Rams but just were not able to finish the job.
With Bruce Irvin out of the game once again, I look for Brian Burns to continue to develop. He already is one of the better edge rushers the Panthers have had in recent memory. His development should only be accelerated by these extra reps in Irvin’s absence.
The best news of the week is that Ron Rivera has a good history coaching against Bruce Arians. The NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals comes to mind. I would give your left kidney for a score like that tonight.
However, this is still a divisional game that is always played tight. I don’t see a blowout for either team. As has been the trend with Ron Rivera over the past few seasons, it will be a one score ballgame.
Bucs – 17
Panthers – 24