As Tampa Bay moves on from a loss to the division rival Saints, the Carolina Panthers are standing in the way of the first Buccaneers win. And you can bet they are thinking the same thing in Charlotte about Tampa Bay. No team wants to start 0-2. Especially in the always competitive NFC South. Since 2007, only 12% of teams who started 0-2 have made the playoffs. With the Buccaneers being a game behind in the NFC South already, this win is even more crucial against a division opponent.
How The 2020 Panthers Measure Up
This Panthers team has a pretty good running back. There’s just no way around it. Christian McCaffrey is arguably the best in the league and we’re not just talking about running the ball. McCaffrey’ achieved the rare feat of 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 yard receiving in 2019. Something that only two players have done in the history of the game prior (Faulk 99′ / Craig 85′).
Suspiciously, that game plan was not on the field last week against the Raiders as McCaffrey only saw three catches from four targets all game. It’s not an understatement to say that is poorly mismanaging their best player.
Limited Tape, Plenty Of Tendencies
With only one game to go off of and a new coaching staff it’s typically tough to nail down tendencies and strengths from your opponents. Head coach Matt Rhule didn’t hide his well known affections for his Temple alum Robby Anderson who had a career day. Todd Bowles is going to have to give him a bit more attention next week.
We know DJ Moore can play and he has shown up repeatedly against the Buccaneers. It was near automatic for Moore to post at least an 8 for 80 stat line against the young secondary last year. He’s not going to have an easy time against Carlton Davis who just held the 2019 receiving leader Michael Thomas to 17 yards off three catches.
One thing Carolina would have liked to have left in 2019 is their porous run defense. The Panthers defense ranked as the 29th worst in the league against the run. From the looks of how they handled Raiders Running Back Josh Jacobs, it appears these issues still haunt them.
The one clear positive that Carolina has over Tampa Bay at the moment is mental discipline. Tampa Bay currently leads the league in penalties against with nine. Carolina is tied for third with only five. The mental toughness and sound execution was a major factor in the loss against New Orleans. It must not be the Buccaneers achilles heel again in Charlotte.
Be sure to stick around the Bucs Report every Wednesday for the latest Scouting Report for the Buccaneers opponents. We’re going to break down each and every future Buccaneers win for the coming week.