Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers look to end their five game losing streak as the host the Carolina Panthers. The Buccaneers are -3.5 point favorites over the Panthers with an over/under point total set at 48.
Expectations were high for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season and after Raheem Morris’ team started the season at 4-2 they seemed well on their way but five consecutive losses later the Bucs are already playing for next year. It’s been a combination of injuries and growing pains but any way you slice it Tampa Bay is in a downward spiral. Josh Freeman started the season strong and he has completed 61.8 percent of his passes but he has just 12 touchdowns with 16 interceptions. LaGarrette Blount has earned all 644 of his yards as he’s averaged 4.7 yards per carry and he has scored four touchdowns. Mike Williams and Kellen Winslow each have 52 catches while Preston Parker has 29 catches. The Tampa bay defense has 17 sacks, nine fumble recoveries, and 11 interceptions while they are allowing a 31st ranked 394.6 yards and 26.5 points per game. Sean Jones has 66 tackles, Ronde Barber has 59 tackles, and Mason Foster has 53. The Tampa Bay offense just seems to be out of sync in the passing game and the defense simply isn’t good enough to make up for the mistakes the offense is making.
The Carolina Panthers are one of the most improved teams in football and though they are just 3-8 Ron Rivera’s team has competed week in and week out, something we didn’t see from them last season. Last year’s number one overall pick, QB Cam Newton, has been the story completing 61 percent of his passes with 12 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and he’s rushed for 464 yards and 10 touchdowns. DeAngelo Williams is averaging 5.0 yards per carry and has scored three touchdowns and Jonathan Stewart is averaging 4.8 yards per carry and he’s caught 36 passes. Steve Smith has had a big comeback year with 59 catches for 1,060 yards and five touchdowns, Greg Olsen has 40 catches and four touchdowns, and Legedu Naanee has 36 catches. Defensively the Panthers have 21 sacks, eight fumble recoveries, and nine interceptions for a minus four turnover margin while allowing 370.1 yards and 27.7 points per game. James Anderson has 97 tackles, Charles Godfrey has 62, and Charles Johnson has 7.5 sacks. The Panthers appear to be headed in the right direction and might be just a few pieces of the puzzle away.
Tampa Bay is 6-2-1 against the spread against a team with a losing record, 7-20 against the spread in their last 27 home games, and 1-4 against the spread in their last five games overall. Carolina is 4-1 against the spread in their last five road games against a team with a losing home record, 2-6 against the spread in their last eight road games, and 1-6 against the spread in their last seven games as a road underdog. The favorite has covered in six of the last seven meetings of these two.
The Panthers won and covered last week on the road while Tampa Bay has turned into an outright disaster. While the Panthers haven’t been as strong as teams get more and more film of Newton, the Bucs are a team to be steering clear of until they show us reason to jump back on them.
Carolina Panthers +3.5 Tampa Bay Buccaneers