A crucial NFC South divisional clash will highlight the 1:00 games of Week 8 as Cam Newton takes his Carolina Panthers on the road to do battle with Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers.
The Bucs suffered a pretty tough defeat last week in Buffalo. It looked like they had the game within reach but let it slip away late in the 4th quarter. Head coach Dirk Koetter certainly has to be on the hot seat, as this was a season in which many pegged Tampa Bay to be able to take that next step. Sitting at just 2-4 and last in the division – it hasn’t materialized.
Meanwhile, after a slow and sluggish offensive start for Carolina, Cam Newton and his receiving corps have bounced back – all without key TE Greg Olsen. Though last week in Chicago was disappointing – they’ve put up big numbers in most weeks and are primed to rebound against the Bucs on Sunday. They enter 2nd in the division, and with the Falcons struggling – it seems like they could be contenders once again.
As always, read on below the odds for a full game breakdown and analysis. It’s been an up-and-down first half of NFL betting for myself, but a strong finish to the season looks within reach. Enjoy!
Panthers vs. Buccaneers Betting Odds:
Carolina Panthers +1.5 (-110)
@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers -1.5 (-110)
Over 46.5 (-110)
Under 46.5 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Panthers vs. Buccaneers Pick:
Though Carolina entered the week with a lot of uncertainty regarding their injury report – things have certainly worked out. Ryan Kalil, Trai Turner, and Luke Kuechly are all expected to suit up and that trio should be quite impactful on Sunday.
Having Turner and Kalil back in the fold should help to nullify the pressure of the Bucs’ defensive line. Robert Ayers and Gerald McCoy generate a ton right up the middle – and though they will be impactful on Sunday afternoon, Turner and Kalil should keep them away from Newton for the most part.
And don’t be surprised to see Newton do a lot of the work himself. He’s clearly back in a groove, and the Bucs’ defense has endured a lot of turnover and changes. This is a linebacking corps that has barely played together, and with Brent Grimes being lost from the secondary – it’s a huge loss. Both Devin Funchess and Kelvin Benjamin should be in line for some open looks downfield.
On defense for the Panthers, with Kuechly back – he changes everything. Last week his absence was noticeable, and Carolina looked last as a team without him. With him back in the fold, expect a ton of pressure to be generated and applied to Jameis Winston. He receives pretty porous protection and as a unit – the O-Line is struggling heavily in 2017. Julius Peppers and Kawann Short both have huge mismatches and should be able to get to Winston and force him into bad plays and perhaps turnovers.
Carolina is the more talented unit and expect a big bounceback outing following last week’s dismal showing in Chicago. With the return of Kuechly it should serve as a massive boost to the defense, and expect offense to be hard to come by for the Bucs. Tampa seemed demoralized after letting last week’s game slip away in Buffalo – while Carolina seems poised to rebound and begin yet another push to the post-season on the back of Cam Newton.
PICK = Panthers +1.5 (-110)