coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 11/25/2013 07:07 PM in NFL

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers: Preview and Pick

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers: Preview and Pick

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are suddenly a very good football team that is winning games. After defeating the Detroit Lions the Buccaneers have started a modest winning streak. They will not go up against the team with the best winning streak in all of football when they travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers. The Panthers barely escaped the Dolphins for a big road win and are back at home to continue their winning ways, or at least try.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Odds

The opening NFL point spread for this game favor the Panthers as the betting line shows that Carolina is a (-9) point favorite. Over 78 percent of the early betting action was on the Buccaneers as they believed that line was inflated and with that in mind, the betting odds began to shrink. This line can now be found at (-8) at several of the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Panthers were not at their best against the Dolphins on Sunday. Cam Newton wasn't at his best in Sunday's win against the Dolphins. Newton finished 10-of-24 for 71 yards and an interception against four or fewer rushers. He made up for it late with the winning drive, but it is something that could concern the Panthers in the near future.

The Buccaneers have improved play under center. Mike Glennon is one of only 2 qualified quarterbacks in the NFL to have not thrown an interception on throws at least 15 yards downfield this season. He has posted a 98.7 Total QBR on such throws, 5th best in the league. Glennon's 5-yard touchdown pass to Tiquan Underwood traveled 40 yards through the air. This is a good sign for the future of this franchise.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveal some interesting betting angles that should not be overlooked. Tampa Bay is 4-8 against the spread (ATS) in its last 12 games when playing on the road against Carolina and the total has gone under in 9 of Tampa Bay's last 13 games when playing on the road against Carolina. Tampa Bay is 7-14 straight up in its last 21 games when playing Carolina and Tampa Bay is 1-4 straight up in its last 5 games on the road. Tampa Bay is just 4-13 straight up in its last 17 games, while Carolina is 5-0 straight up in its last 5 games and 6-1 straight up in its last 7 games at home.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of is big game, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/26/2013 01:29 PM

Head coach Ron Rivera was extremely disappointed with his team’s first half performance against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Carolina Panthers vs Miami Dolphins

He felt better about it after reviewing the tape on Monday.

“After having a chance to watch the tape, it’s a lot better. It really is,” Rivera said. “We played a lot better than I gave ourselves credit for.”

Rivera continually praised Miami for giving Carolina trouble. The Panthers had just 116 yards in the first half.

“You have to give them credit,” Rivera said. “They fought and played very hard. That front seven they have is pretty doggone good.”

Rivera thought better of the first half the second time around, but he didn’t feel any better about the two deep passes that were completed to Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace for 110 yards.

“The two things that really tweaked me were the two big passes we gave up,” Rivera said. “We were in quarters to that side, so we should have had two guys deep over the top. To get fooled the way we did, that was disappointing. We should know better. We will work on those things.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/26/2013 01:33 PM

Something has got to give.

The Carolina Panthers have won seven in a row. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have won three in a row after losing their first eight.

Something has got to give.

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have rallied behind rookie quarterback Mike Glennon and pulled out three very impressive wins. They have taken down the Miami Dolphins, demolished the Atlanta Falcons, and pulled one out over the Detroit Lions. Now, they hope to put a dent in the plans of the Carolina Panthers playoff push.

Tampa Bay’s Recent Offensive Threat

Glennon is far from an elite quarterback in the NFL, but he is doing his job and has learned the ropes. He’s playing well enough for the Bucs to win, and that’s exactly what they keep doing.

During the three-game winning streak, Glennon has thrown five touchdowns and only one interception. His main targets are Vincent Jackson and Tiquan Underwood, and the Panthers are going to have to watch them both carefully.

Jackson is a very powerful receiver and his veteran leadership helps the rest of the corps know where they are supposed to be and what they’re supposed to do. Underwood is speedy and if the Panthers don’t watch it, he will be behind the secondary before they even realize it.

Many thought the Buccaneers running game would die quietly after Doug Martin went out for the season and Mike James got injured, but that is far from what has happened.

Ever since being released by the Cleveland Browns, Bobby Rainey has rejuvenated his career and is playing some of his best football. The Panthers need to keep an eye on him at all times because he’s a player that can tear it up on the ground or coming out of the backfield as another target for Glennon.

Defensively, Carolina may end up getting a break.

Cornerback Darrelle Revis suffered a groin injury near halftime on Sunday against the Lions, and it isn’t certain how bad it is just yet. If he can’t go next weekend, rookie Jonthan Banks should end up stepping in for him.

This past weekend, Banks did a very good job covering Calvin Johnson of the Lions, and that is no small feat.

Middle linebacker Mason Foster missed the Lions game for the Bucs due to a concussion. Tampa Bay’s head coach Greg Schiano hopes that he will be back for the game against the Panthers.

Tampa Bay is also going to have to look for another tight end this week as Tom Crabtree suffered a torn biceps muscle and has been placed on season-ending injured reserve. Tim Wright is currently the only tight end on the Buccaneers active roster, and that is one less target for the Panthers to worry about.

Carolina almost fell victim to the perfectly drawn-up trap game in the Miami Dolphins, but they were able to escape with a win. Now, they need to make sure not to take the Bucs lightly either because they are streaking and trying to prove that the 0-8 start is not who they truly are.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/27/2013 01:58 PM

Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera and offensive coordinator Mike Shula have said more than once this year they don’t want quarterback Cam Newton being the team’s leading rusher, but he’s been just that in the past two games.

Carolina’s running backs, meanwhile, have combined for less than 100 yards in each of the past three games.

The Panthers (8-3) have a seven-game winning streak without a dominant running game, but Rivera would still like more out of his backfield.

“We’re still rushing for 100 yards a game – I know the quarterback had to run a little more – but again, it shows that if you pile up on us, you do certain things, we have another weapon,” Rivera said. “Is it disconcerting? Yeah. I’d like to see us have more success. But when we had to, we ran the ball, and we had some big runs at the right time.”

Carolina has rushed for an average of 116 yards in wins against San Francisco, New England and Miami, but take Newton from the equation and the Panthers have games of 94, 41 and 85 yards on the ground.

Those performances have come against some strong defenses.

The 49ers had the sixth-best defense in the NFL when they met the Panthers in Week 10, and Rivera pointed to Miami’s defensive front seven as being better than people think.

The Patriots have the next-to-worst rush defense in the league, but New England coach Bill Belichick is renowned for taking away what an opponent does best, especially with two weeks to prepare coming off a bye. The Patriots stacked the box with eight and sometimes nine players against the Panthers, leaving a lot of man coverage for the New England secondary but suffocating Carolina’s ground game.

“We’ve just got to be a little sharper overall in the running game, all of us,” Shula said. “You’ve got to be able to run it regardless of how defenses play us. That’s how we’ve built our offense, too, is to be able to run it when we have to run it.”

Shula said the team monitors Newton’s run calls versus scrambles, and he doesn’t mind much when the quarterback tucks the ball and picks up a first down.

Newton led the team in rushing last season with 741 yards, and though he’s on pace for a career low in carries (114) and yards (552), his 128 yards in the past three games lead the team during that span.

This year started with a renewed emphasis on the run game after former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski left to become head coach in Cleveland. Through the first three games, DeAngelo Williams led the team, and was third in the NFL, in rushing with 291 yards.

In Week 9, Jonathan Stewart returned from the physically unable to perform list, and Williams’ numbers began declining. In the past three games he has 91 total rushing yards on 24 carries.

In Williams’ first three games, he averaged more than 20 carries in 41 snaps per game. He has averaged eight carries in 24 snaps in the past three games.

“I will say when DeAngelo gets into a really good rhythm, we just got to keep running him,” Rivera said. “Same thing for Jonathan. When we see somebody with the hot hand we’ve got to go with it. We’ve struggled a little bit the last couple of weeks.”

The Panthers have particularly struggled with finding the hot hand early the past three weeks. Against the 49ers, three backs rushed a combined five times for 14 yards in the first quarter. Two backs rushed four times for 10 yards against the Patriots, and Sunday against the Dolphins, the three backs rushed six times for 21 yards.

Shula said he and the offensive coaching staff want to get Williams into a rhythm early, but they must straddle the line between feeding the hot hand and getting all the backs touches delicately.

“And you really just preach, hey, everyone do their job better, especially early in the games. We haven’t had as good a rhythm, whether or not it’s runs or passes, in the last couple of weeks early in the game. If you can do that and stay on the field, then those plays start to come.”

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/27/2013 01:59 PM

Carolina’s opponents average only 13.7 points, and the NFL’s No. 3 defense is keyed by MLB Luke Kuechly and a powerful front four. A mediocre secondary can be exploited, but only if Glennon has enough time to survey the field. Newton has developed into a mature decision maker, especially on third down, and WR Steve Smith is always dangerous. The Bucs could have a difficult time matching up against TE Greg Olsen.

Tampa Bay has won three straight after an 0-8 start, and winning the turnover battle has been critical. The Bucs forced 12 turnovers in the past four games, and Glennon has only one interception with 10 TD passes in the past six weeks. MLB Mason Foster, inactive at Detroit with a concussion, could return and S Dashon Goldson is back after serving a one-game NFL suspension. The status of CB Darrelle Revis (groin) won’t be determined until later in the week.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/28/2013 11:06 AM

Cam Newton quickly established himself as one of the most versatile quarterbacks in the NFL when he entered the league, winning offensive rookie of the year honors in a virtual landslide after a record-setting 2011.

Now he seems to have added a knack for playing his best in tight situations.

After leading a pair of winning drives in his last two games, Newton and the Panthers seek a franchise-record eighth straight win against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Newton rallied the Panthers (8-3) from a 16-3 first-half deficit Sunday for a 20-16 win over Miami, allowing Carolina to match the record seven-game streak it had to close the 1996 season.

His completion on fourth-and-10 at his own 20 kept the final possession alive and he threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Greg Olsen with 43 seconds left to cap the 12-play drive. The Panthers also converted a pair of third downs on the winning drive and remain one game behind New Orleans (9-2) in the NFC South.

"It may not be pretty," Newton said, "but at the end of the game we get that three-letter word, and that's gorgeous."

Newton closed the opening half with another strong drive, leading Carolina 52 yards for a field goal in the final 61 seconds with no timeouts to cut it to 16-6. On a gutsy call by coach Ron Rivera in the third quarter, he ran eight yards on fourth-and-1 from the Panthers 41 before scoring on a keeper from 5 yards out to make it 16-13.

"They have been calling our coach Riverboat Ron because he likes to gamble," said Newton, who had a 78.4 passer rating during a 1-3 start but has bumped that to 94.3 during the win streak.

Newton's clutch performance against the Dolphins came on the heels of a 24-20 win over New England on Nov. 18 in which he led the Panthers 83 yards on 13 plays and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Ted Ginn Jr. with 59 seconds left to take the lead.

Newton has had four games with at least a 111.0 rating and is completing 64.3 percent of his passes in the seven victories.

"I think it has a lot to do with us growing up," Rivera told the team's official website. "It's the growth of our quarterback and our offensive unit and the growth of our defensive unit as well.

The defense has come up just as big as Newton this season, ranking third in the NFL in both rushing (81.5) and total yards (297.5) allowed per game.

"These guys understand what it takes now," Rivera added, "and they're still learning and growing and getting better and better."

Carolina is 3-2 against the Buccaneers with Newton under center, including a 31-13 win at Tampa on Oct. 24 in which he threw two touchdowns and ran for another. The third-year quarterback has a 106.6 passer rating in those five games with 13 total TDs and only two interceptions - both coming in a 16-10 loss Sept. 9, 2012.

With a decent run defense that is allowing 101.6 yards per game, the Bucs (3-8) have a chance to contain Newton, who has 379 rushing yards and is averaging 4.9 per carry. Newton may not have to contend with Darrelle Revis, however, after the All-Pro cornerback sat out the second half of Sunday's win over Detroit with a groin injury.

The problem for Tampa Bay, winner of two of three in Carolina, will be overcoming the Panthers' defense. The Bucs are second to last in the NFL with 303.4 yards per game and are in the middle of the pack with an average of 109.8 on the ground.

During a tumultuous season that opened with eight straight losses amid continual calls from fans for the firing of coach Greg Schiano, the bright spot has been the recent play of rookie quarterback Mike Glennon.

The third-round pick out of North Carolina State threw for 247 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions during the 24-21 win over the Lions - the fourth time in five games that he hasn't turned the ball over.

Since replacing Josh Freeman, he's completed nearly 63 percent of his passes for 13 touchdowns and four interceptions in eight starts, becoming the first QB in NFL history to throw a scoring pass in his first eight games.

"He's playing at a higher level than you would expect of a rookie," Schiano said.

Glennon has 1,782 yards passing and needs 74 to pass Freeman (1,855 in 2009) for the most by a rookie in team history.

Tampa Bay has joined the 1978 St. Louis Cardinals as the only NFL teams to follow an 0-8 start with a three-game win streak.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/29/2013 02:48 PM

Defensive end Charles Johnson will miss his second straight start for the Carolina Panthers with a right knee sprain, but should be ready for next week's NFC South showdown against the New Orleans Saints.

The Panthers (8-3) also may be without leading rusher DeAngelo Williams, who has missed practice all week with a quad contusion, for Sunday's home game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"A lot of concerns with DeAngelo,'' coach Ron Rivera said after Friday's practice.

Rivera said Williams' status for Tampa Bay (3-8) should be known by Saturday. Williams, who has 610 yards rushing this season, took a helmet to the quadriceps during Sunday's 20-16 victory at Miami.

If Williams is out, Mike Tolbert, Jonathan Stewart and Kenjon Barner will split the carries. Tolbert (knee) and Stewart (ankle) were limited in Wednesday's practice but are good to go.

"Those guys are still a pretty formidable group,'' Rivera said.

Johnson suffered his injury when he was leg-whipped in the third quarter of a Nov. 18 victory over the New England Patriots.

Carolina's sack leader with 8.5 had two sacks in a 31-13 victory over the Buccaneers last month in Tampa. Mario Addison, who had a sack against the Dolphins, will start his second straight game and rotate with Frank Alexander.

"Mario showed us some really good stuff,'' Rivera said of the third-year player out of Troy.

Rivera is hopeful Johnson will return for the Dec. 8 Sunday night game at New Orleans. The Saints (9-2) are a game ahead of Carolina, the winners of seven straight, in the NFC South.

"I'm pretty excited about him,'' Rivera said of Johnson. "I think he has every opportunity to play next week. He had a big day today watching him with the training staff.''

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/29/2013 02:50 PM

Here are the keys to victory for the Buccaneers against their rivals from Charlotte.

1. Pressure Cam Newton, but don’t lose contain.

In their first matchup this season, the Panthers and Cam Newton faced a good amount of pressure from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. But the contain wasn’t there often enough, and Newton was able to break free for fifty rushing yards and a touchdown on the ground.

This week, it will be important for the Buccaneers to continue to apply pressure to Newton, but keeping him from breaking off a big run is equally as important. Gerald McCoy has been the best inside pass rusher in the NFL this season, and he’ll be able to get in the face of the Carolina quarterback. Can Adrian Clayborn, Da’Quan Bowers, Daniel Te’o-Nesheim and company remained disciplined on the outside to catch Newton if he tries to get outside of the tackle box?

That’s the question the Buccaneers must answer if they hope to contain the Auburn product under center for the Panthers.

2. Don’t overuse stunts and exotic blitzes which create lanes for Cam Newton, or allow him too much time to pass.

From a coaching standpoint, the Buccaneers cannot run the same stunts and blitzes used previously against Cam Newton, as they will often leave openings for him to escape through, or provide him with too much time to throw.

The Buccaneers have talented players in the front seven who can help keep Newton under wraps. Silly stunts which take Gerald McCoy out of the play and which bring Adrian Clayborn across the formation in an attempt to rush the passer aren’t needed in this game.

3. Get the ball out of Mike Glennon’s hands quickly, and take advantage of matchups in the passing game.

There are no defensive players on the Carolina roster who can handle Vincent Jackson on the outside. There are no linebackers, not even the great Luke Kuechly, who can keep up with Tim Wright in a one-on-one matchup. The Buccaneers have to exploit these matchups, and do so quickly after Mike Glennon gets the football.

Waiting for plays to develop is usually a recipe for Glennon to get spooked by the pass rush, and unless he’s able to roll out and reset himself, it often results in a throwaway or sack. Against Carolina, who have a ferocious pass rush, the Buccaneers must design plays to get Glennon throwing quickly, and in the direction of his two talented receivers who pose matchup problems.

4. Find a way to run the football.

If Mike Glennon throws the ball 50 times against Carolina, as he did in the last matchup, the Buccaneers simply cannot win.

Glennon has been at his best in recent weeks when the team has committed to the running game, and allowed him to make fewer throws over the course of the game. Even if running the football isn’t gaining considerable yardage, there has to be an effort to pound the football on the ground.

The Tampa Bay offensive line is too talented and too expensive to not pave the way in a matchup like this.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/30/2013 05:59 PM

Cornerback Darrelle Revis (groin) will be a game-time decision for the Bucs, while the Panthers will be making the same call on four of their players.

Coach Ron Rivera expressed concern about running back DeAngelo Williams (quad), but Jonathan Stewart (ankle) and Mike Tolbert (knee) are likely to be in the lineup. The Panthers will be without defensive end Charles Johnson (knee) for a second straight game.