Hagen’s Week 9 Preview – Bucs @ Panthers


After a tumultuous week in Tampa, the Bucs are traveling to Carolina next to face the Panthers at Bank of America Stadium. The Panthers currently have a 5-2 record and are coming off an impressive 36-21 win against the Baltimore Ravens, who arguably have the toughest defense in football.

With Winston riding the bench, it will be in Ryan Fitzpatrick’s hands to right this ship. Fitzpatrick will have to continue right where he left off against the Bengals if the Bucs want any chance of winning this divisional matchup. Fitzpatrick will have his hands full in this game, however, as the Panthers have the 8th-ranked defense in the league.

On offense, Carolina fields a great running team. Christian McCaffrey is their starting running back. He is very versatile and can be used effectively as a receiver out of the back field, as well. Beyond that, quarterback Cam Newton likes to take off and run with it. He averages almost 10 carries per game so far this season and has already scored 4 touchdowns on the ground.

Fortunately, it looks like Vinny Curry and Gerald McCoy might be able to play again this week, which would be a huge improvement of Tampa’s defense. If they can hold the Panthers under 100 yards on the ground, they have a great shot at winning this game.

The Buccaneers cannot afford to lose this game against a division rival. A win would put them right back into the playoff hunt. A loss could be the first step to cleaning house and starting over…again!

Fitzpatrick will have to make his magic work in this one. If he does, we might indeed not see Jameis Winston take another snap in a Buccaneers’ jersey.

After all, the Panthers are too much to handle for the Bucs at this point. Fitzpatrick turns the ball over twice and throws for two touchdowns, both to DeSean Jackson. Bucs lose.

Final score: 31-17 Panthers.




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