Carolina Panthers Week 9 preview and prediction vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Carolina Panthers continued their current home winning streak with a dominating performance over the Baltimore Ravens last week. An attempt to push the consecutive win total to 10 is upcoming as divisional rival Tampa Bay pays a visit to Bank of America Stadium.
Winning both contests last season, the Panthers avenged dropping two to the Buccaneers during 2016 after winning six straight prior. Leading the all-time series 22-13, Carolina has enjoyed their most divisional success against Tampa Bay, winning four of the last five at home.
The Buccaneers have endured a tumultuous season to this point setting up what feels like a critical game for their franchise. With their season on the brink, a victory helps right the ship but a loss would keep the Buccaneers sinking.
2018 SEASON: CAROLINA PANTHERS (5-2) vs. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (3-4)
KICKOFF: Sunday, November 4 at 1:00 PM ET
TV: FOX Broadcast Coverage Map
LOCATION: Bank of America Stadium (Charlotte, NC)
WEATHER: 64 degrees, 54% humidity, 6mph ENE wind, 10% precipitation
LAST MEETING: 22-19, PANTHERS – December 24, 2017 (WEEK 16)
WHAT TO WATCH:
An injury to starting quarterback Jameis Winston led backup Ryan Fitzpatrick to start the first four games of the season for Tampa Bay. Off to a hot start, the Buccaneers won in New Orleans and at home over Philadelphia before back to back losses against Pittsburgh and Chicago allowed Winston an opportunity to regain his position.
In three starts, a win over the Browns was all Winston could muster as four interceptions led to his removal and an 18-point deficit just prior to the fourth quarter last week. Fitzpatrick entered and brought the Bucs roaring back, tying the game with just over a minute remaining but the defense couldn’t hold and a field goal handed Tampa Bay their fourth loss of the season.
Fitzpatrick will start but regardless of who is throwing the passes, Carolina must be prepared to defend against the top aerial attack in the NFL in terms of yardage with 2,634 yards total and 376 yards per game on average.
Good news is the Carolina secondary enjoyed arguably their best performance to date last week and a repeat against receivers Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Chris Godwin, Adam Humphries and tight ends O.J. Howard or Cameron Brate will be needed to secure a victory.
PREDICTION: Carolina Panthers – 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers – 24