Week Two of the NFL season is already upon us, and a Thursday night contest between two upstart NFC South teams should provide us with some entertaining action.
Both the Buccaneers and Panthers have high hopes for 2019, but after a tough opening week loss to San Francisco at home for Tampa – and a narrow defeat for the Panthers, both squads are antsy to find their way into the win column.
What will be fun to watch in this contest is the prolific offensive talent on display across both sides. With the likes of Jameis Winston and Mike Evans for Tampa, and Cam Newton and Christian McAffrey for Carolina, big plays should be expected on Thursday night football.
It’s also important to note that this is a pretty big intra-divisional clash. In a competitive loop, with the Saints and Falcons vying for the top spot, if either Carolina or Tampa want to spoil the party, winning these types of games is imperative to their post-season chances.
This should be an excellent game loaded with offense to kick off Week 2. As always, read on below the odds and stick around for some game analysis and a betting prediction for Tampa Bay vs. Carolina.
Buccaneers vs. Panthers Betting Odds:
Tampa Bay +7 (-110)
@ Carolina -7 (-110)
Over 49 (-110)
Under 49 (-110)
Buccaneers vs. Panthers Pick:
It was supposed to be a very big season for Bruce Arians and the Tampa Bay offense. Their defense was improved, but it was going to be their prolific attack that carried the team to some success in 2019. Last week, Jameis Winston did not follow suit on that. He turned the ball over a couple of times, and after the game admitted that he can and will be better.
Expect the Bucs’ fortunes to turn in Week 2, there’s just too much talent and Arians’ remains one of the best offensive play-callers in football. Carolina does have a good offensive line that should get after Winston, but one area they severely lack in is their secondary. Expect Winston and the Bucs to find time in the pocket and find their rhythm, and be able to connect downfield to his array of talented targets.
Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are elite receivers and should be able to find separation with regularity. O.J. Howard is also an emerging player at the tight end player, and he should be able to bully opposing linebackers with his speed and strength. Expect a much better offensive outing from the Bucs on the road in this one.
On the other side of the ball the Panthers come into this game with some severe question marks of their own following a mediocre Week 1 showing from their star QB in Cam Newton. Newton was inconsistent with his passing accuracy and barely ran with the ball. If he’s not a dual-threat, he frankly isn’t that good – and teams realize this.
It remains to be seen if he is still in fact injured, but his ankle injury from the pre-season looks to be lingering. If Newton can’t roll around and escape pocket pressure, it could be a long evening once again for Carolina’s offense. Tampa Bay isn’t the best at coverage in their secondary, and though there are definite holes, it’s uncertain right now if Newton can get free to find them.
With the uncertainty surrounding Newton and his status, the Bucs seem like a very live underdog in this intra-divisional showdown. They’re the healthier team and have more to offer on offense right now, and should also match up quite well against Carolina’s porous secondary. While an outright win would be surprising, this will definitely be a tight game throughout and should result in Tampa Bay covering the number.