After a successful game last week, the Bucs now host their division rivals, the Carolina Panthers, on Sunday. The Panthers have lost the last three games and will try to avoid a losing streak of four games in a row.
The key for the Tampa Bay defense in this game will be to continue its strong play from last week and keep Carolina’s running game in check. Christian McCaffrey is having an outstanding season. Not only is he a weapon as a runner between the tackles, but he is also a great asset as a receiver out of the backfield, as he is by far the leading receiver on the team with a whopping 71 receptions for a total of 608 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Buccaneers must not allow him to run all over them like he did in Week 9, the first time these two teams met this year.
Cam Newton likes to tuck the ball in and run with it. He has run for 417 yards and four touchdowns on the season. If the Bucs hold Carolina to under 100 yards on the ground, they win the game.
Offensively, Winston has to prove that last week’s strong performance on his part was not a fluke. If he can manage to not give the ball away once, like he did last week, Tampa Bay wins this one.
Peyton Barber should struggle to find success in this game. The Panthers play well against the run. They allow no more than an average of 96.4 yards per game. The Bucs, on the other hand, allow 116.7 yards. Hopefully Barber can find a way to beat the odds and run the ball well, which would take tons of pressure off of his quarterback Jameis Winston.
In the end, the Bucs come away with a win. Final score: 24-21 Bucs!