The 5-2 Carolina Panthers welcome the division-rival Tampa Bay Buccaneers to Bank of America Stadium this Sunday. Coming off of an outstanding, all-around performance against the Ravens, the Panthers look to continue their winning ways in Week Nine. Tampa Bay is coming off of a tough loss against the Cincinnati Bengals but have surprised many people in 2018. This game figures to be a shootout and will really test the Panthers mental focus as a Thursday Night matchup at Pittsburgh is on the horizon.
Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Return of FitzMagic
All Black Everything
To much of the delight of Panther Nation, the squad will be decked out in all black for this Sunday’s game. Yes, black jerseys AND black pants this week. This is the first regular season game since 2013 that the Panthers have repped this jersey combination and fans are stoked. New owner David Tepper hasn’t been afraid to let the team be more creative and have fun this season. This is now the fifth unique uniform combination the Panthers will show off this year.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) October 31, 2018
Secondary Needs to Step Up
Ryan Fitzpatrick is getting the start this Sunday for the Buccaneers and surprisingly enough, Fitzpatrick is among the NFL leaders in touchdowns and passing yards per game. The Panthers defense will look to bring their A-game if they want to slow down this lethal passing attack. Carolina’s young corners will need to stay with the solid receiving duo of Mike Evans and Desean Jackson. Tampa Bay is all over the team total offensive leaders and is scoring nearly 30 points a game. The Panthers can’t look ahead to Ben Roethlisberger in Week 10 and need to stay focused on limiting the Bucs offense.
While the Buccaneers have a high flying passing attack of their own, their defense is susceptible to giving up more than their offense can put up. The Bucs enter Week Nine with the league’s worst passing defense and is also dead last in opponent’s points per game. This means that Cam Newton and the offense should have the opportunity to put up some gaudy numbers in this contest. It’s much easier to pass the ball on Tampa Bay’s defense than run, so Norv Turner will need to dial up some creative Christian McCaffery routes and maybe take a deep shot or two down the field. Look for QB1 and young WRs D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel to have huge games on Sunday.
Best Case Scenario
The Panthers defense holds strong and makes the Bucs swap quarterbacks again. Cam firmly puts his name in the MVP race with a five-touchdown performance and the Panthers young wide receivers take over the game. The team stays hot and continues their winning ways with a dismantling of Tampa Bay.
Worst Case Scenario
The Panthers have a huge let down game and let Fitzmagic go up and down the field on them. The offense doesn’t look the same and the team remains unpredictable ahead of Thursday’s tough road game at Pittsburgh.
Score: Panthers 37 Buccaneers 31
Offensive MVP: Curtis Samuel (four catches, 73 yards, two touchdowns. two rushes, 52 yards)
Defensive MVP: Julius Peppers (two sacks, one forced fumble)