Sunday features a matchup between two divisional opponents as Tampa Bay 1-0 travels to Carolina to try and steal a win on the road, while Carolina will be trying to get their first win of the season after coming off a tough road loss to the New York Giants. Both teams could use a win here, but I think it’s more important for Carolina to find a way to win this game. Carolina was already having a QB controversy and Matt Moore didn’t exactly quiet critics with his performance against the Giants last week. Tampa Bay was surprisingly efficient in their play last week against the Browns and Josh Freeman showed he can lead his team to victory. This one should be close throughout and it will ultimately come down to who wants it more. Game is set to start at 1:00 PM EST.
Tampa Bay faces a tough matchup this week. The Buccaneers have gotten better since last season however and a big reason for that is due to the immediate impact of their rookie class. Gerald McCoy looks good at DT and WR Mike Williams is looking like the teams number 1 receiver of the future. In addition Josh Freeman looks like he has really matured from his rookie season till now, he looks more comfortable and Cadillac Williams is finally healthy for the first time in years. The solid core of young talent is reason for optimism in Tampa Bay. The Defense does have some reason for concern, but MLB Barrett Ruud is looking like the real deal and should help the younger defensive players be in the right positions during key moments of games. There is a lot to like about the Buccaneers this season.
The Panthers have to be feeling good about having Tampa Bay come to town. Tampa has allowed 100 yards rushing in six straight games and the Panthers are one of the best running teams in the league. Steve Smith is still one of the better receivers in the game today and the Defense of the Panthers is still really good despite getting a lot younger. Last week the panthers were able to confuse Eli Manning enough to force him into throwing interceptions and were able to recover fumbles as well, the bad thing is they weren’t able to convert these opportunities into points. The Panthers got away from the run this game but look for them to get back to what they do best this week against the Buccaneers.
Buccaneers vs Panthers Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers +3.5 (-105)
@Carolina Panthers -3.5 (-105)
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Buccaneers vs Panthers Prediction for Week Two Betting:
Spread Prediction (Top Play): This game could go either way. It is important to know that CAROLINA is 6-0 ATS in home games versus division opponents over the last 3 seasons. I do see the running game being big in this as both teams will try and establish it early on, however I think that defense will dictate which direction this game goes. Matt Moore had turnovers in the red zone last week and I simply just don’t trust him against a resurging Buccaneer Team. I would say defense dictates this one, but in the end Josh Freeman once again keeps his team in the game.
Top Play Prediction: Buccaneers +3.5
Game Total Prediction: The game total is set about right where it should be. The only play I would recommend making here is the under. I think time of possession is going to be paramount in this game and neither team will look to make this a shootout. There are two young Quarterbacks featured in this game and both coaches would probably prefer to keep it out of their hands and elect to run the ball and play Defense. Two out of four games in this series have gone Over in the last 3 seasons, so it truly is a toss up here, but I say smart goes with the under.