coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 10/21/2013 04:31 PM in NFL

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Preview and Pick

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Preview and Pick

The Thursday night football game features two teams that seem to be heading in two different directions. The Carolina Panthers head out on the NFL highway riding a two game winning streak. These two wins have been in impressive fashion, but now they will have to avoid the letdown with a short week to prepare to play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Odds

The NFL opening point spreads for this game opened up with the Panthers listed as (-6.5) point favorites. The betting public has jumped ship and no longer believes in backing the Buccaneers and this is evident by the over 60 percent of the early betting that is coming in on the Panthers. Although the money is coming in on the Panthers, the line has dropped and can now be found at (-6) at most of the top rated sportsbooks.

If the Panthers want to win they will need to continue to have a good effort from their star young quarterback. Cam Newton has completed at least 75 percent of his passes in each of his last two games, the first time in his career he's accomplished that in consecutive games. He is only the fifth quarterback this season to complete 75 percent of his passes in consecutive games. This productive outing on offense is just one of the reasons that the Panthers seemed to have turned the corner and have a shot at making the playoffs. That would take a major setback if they were to lose to the Buccaneers this Thursday.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveal some insight on to what side to bet on for the Thursday night tussle. The total has gone over in 7 of Tampa Bay's last 9 games when playing at home against Carolina and the total has gone over in 5 of Carolina's last 7 games on the road. It should be noted that Carolina usually plays well in this spot as Carolina is 7-3 straight up in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Tampa Bay, however they do have some negative trends. Carolina is 8-17 straight up in its last 25 games on the road and just 2-3-1 straight up in its last 6 games. Tampa Bay is 0-5 straight up in its last 5 games at home and just 1-4-1 against the spread (ATS) when playing on their home turf.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Pick

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

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/22/2013 02:45 PM

The Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will face off on Thursday Night Football this week in a matchup that seems less-than-deserving of a primetime NFL slot on television. The Panthers will be trying to put themselves into the playoff race while the Bucs will be trying to avoid going one step closer to 0-16.

Coming into this contest, the Panthers have the clear advantage which both teams’ records reflect. Carolina has won three of their last four games and gotten their record to 3-3. Meanwhile Tampa Bay, as I said, is still searching for their first win of the season.

For the Bucs, really their only source of success this season has been on the ground handing the pigskin off to Doug Martin. Martin has been a workhorse for them season. He’s averaged only 3.6 yards per carry for the year, but much of that is due to poor offensive line play and not lack of performance on the part of the second-year running back.

However, Martin is out coming into this game after suffering a shoulder injury in week seven. The Bucs will be giving the majority of their carries to rookie running back Mike James, who hasn’t looked all that special in limited touches this season, which sets up perfectly for the Panthers run defense.

Through the first seven weeks of the season, the Panthers’ run defense has been the fourth best unit in the NFL, allowing just 84.5 yards per game on the ground. Moreover, they’ve only allowed two rushing touchdowns on the season.

If Carolina shuts down the Bucs’ running game led by James, it will allow their passing defense, which ranks fifth in the NFL, to feast on rookie quarterback Mike Glennon in this game. Though the Buccaneers could potentially surprise some people and James could show us unexpected, but I’d put my faith in the Panthers’ defense once again on Thursday.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/22/2013 02:46 PM

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers believe running back Doug Martin suffered a torn labrum Sunday that could end his season, a league source confirmed to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter.

Fox Sports had earlier reported the feared severity of Martin's injury.

Martin will have an MRI on his shoulder Monday and is unlikely to play Thursday against the Carolina Panthers, a source said.

Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson also will have an MRI Monday, on his knee. Both players suffered their injuries in Tampa Bay's 31-23 loss to the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday.

Martin said after the game that X-rays "look fine'' and his shoulder was not separated.

"We're still evaluating what it is,'' Martin said Sunday, adding that he wasn't "sure yet'' if he would play in Thursday night's game.

"Just have to hope for the best.''

Martin suffered the injury while attempting to catch a pass in the third quarter. Rookie Mike James replaced Martin and finished with 14 carries for 45 yards.

One of the NFL's top rookies last season, Martin was off to a slow start this year for the winless Buccaneers (0-6). The 24-year-old rushed for 47 yards Sunday on 11 carries.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/23/2013 02:17 PM

Back in the preseason, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were making it sound like defensive end Da'Quan Bowers was ready for a breakout season.

Only partly due to injury, Bowers got a season-low six snaps in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta.

Bowers has been stuck in a backup role and has only three tackles (and no sacks) on the season.

“I actually think Da’Quan has gotten better and better,’’ coach Greg Schiano said Tuesday. “I know that [from the] outside looking in [and asking], 'Why isn’t he playing more?’ I think he’s improving. Not as fast as everyone would like, but he’s improving and he has natural ability. He’s going to play more and more as the year goes on, as long as he keeps improving.’’

But the fact is Bowers has yet to beat out Daniel Te'o-Nesheim for the starting job. Bowers is in his third season and it’s fair to start wondering if he’ll ever break out.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/23/2013 02:18 PM

Those who like to rubberneck at accidents will no doubt be tuning in Thursday night to see Team Turmoil when the Buccaneers host the Panthers.

Whether it's three players with MRSA, the Josh Freeman fiasco or the 0-6 record, there are probably several reasons why the hazmat suits are worn to clean up after the Bucs. With luck this bad, black cats won't cross their path.

"First and foremost, we desperately need a win, right?" coach Greg Schiano said. "That's a good headline: desperately need a win.

"What's most important is I think the guys recognize that every other NFL player watches this game, at least if they're a football fan they do. The Thursday night football game is part of their week. It's a big part of our league. Yeah, when you get a chance to be the only show in the league, everybody understands that. Sure they do."

Bucs defensive tackle Gerald McCoy was rooting hard for the Vikings to beat the Giants on Monday night, to no avail. The Giants extricated themselves from the cellar where only the Jaguars and Bucs remain winless.

"Desperate, that's kind of like the last straw isn't it? If you don't have a win?" McCoy said. "The Giants won. I was like, 'C'mon now.' I was like, 'Dang it! Another team with a win.' We've got to get one. We don't want to be the last ones. We've got to get it."

The Bucs don't have to travel on a short week like Carolina. But the Panthers are hot, having won two straight. Quarterback Cam Newton has completed 81.3 percent (35 of 43) of his passes the past two weeks for 446 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

Meanwhile, the Bucs are expected to be without running back Doug Martin, who suffered a torn labrum in his left shoulder in Sunday's loss to Atlanta.

McCoy said he's fine with the quick turnaround considering the winless start.

"I hate waiting a week to play another game," McCoy said. "To lose the way we did in Atlanta, or to lose the way we've lost games in the past, it (stinks) to sit and wait.

"I don't think we're going to play desperate if that makes sense. I think we've going to go out there and execute better. We do need a win because we don't have one, but I don't think it's going to be like, 'They're playing desperate.' "

Panthers coach Ron Rivera can relate a little to the Bucs' slow start under Schiano, who is in his second season. In Rivera's first two seasons, the Panthers were 13-19.

"I think what Coach Schiano has done is they're building the defense, trying to establish the offensive line," Rivera said. "They've had some unfortunate things with the offensive line right now, but I think the direction you had, you establish your defense, you establish the toughness or who you want to be, you go out and get big, physical offensive linemen, you put them in front of your unit and run the ball.

"It's just a matter of time. They're going through a tough time and a tough stretch, which we get and we understand because we've gone through it, too. Hopefully, it's a matter of time before things start to work."

Under Schiano, the Bucs are 3-8 at Raymond James Stadium. He would like to establish a homefield advantage. Add it to the list.

"One of the frustrating things, there (are) a few," Schiano said of establishing homefield advantage. "Do I think we're going to? I do. I've seen that stadium be an intense homefield advantage and I know we can get it back. Hopefully that starts Thursday night."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
10/24/2013 03:21 PM

While the Carolina Panthers are trying to move above the .500 mark for the first time in five seasons, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers simply hope to a win a game.

The visiting Panthers look for a third consecutive victory while trying to keep the Buccaneers winless Thursday night.

Not since finishing 12-4 in 2008 - three seasons before Cam Newton became the face of the franchise - has Carolina (3-3) been above .500. After outscoring Minnesota and St. Louis 65-25 over the last two weeks and visiting a Tampa Bay (0-6) team off to its worst start since 2009, the Panthers appear to be in good shape to again rise above mediocrity.

"It would be a great boost of confidence to have a winning record," said defensive back Captain Munnerlyn, whose 45-yard interception return for a touchdown highlighted Sunday's 30-15 win over the Rams.

The Panthers have already made the most of a favorable three-game stretch that ends Thursday with the Buccaneers, who remain positive despite being in danger of going 0-7 for the second time in five years.

"You've got to go with the next task at hand," Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano said.

''I want to be clear on this because I don't take lightly 0-6. I've never been 0-6. But we do our best. We're trying our hardest. Our guys are working ... and I have found when you have good people and they work hard and they work smart it'll turn. That's what I believe."

Carolina also believes the Bucs' struggles don't justify any reason to take them for granted, especially with games against Atlanta, San Francisco, New England and Miami to follow.

"In this league anything is possible and we know what Tampa Bay is capable of," linebacker Thomas Davis said. "If you look at their games this year they've pretty much been in all of those games. It just came down to executing in the fourth quarter and they could have a much different record. We know that."

With rookie quarterback Mike Glennon starting his fourth straight game and star running back Doug Martin likely out with a shoulder injury, Tampa Bay certainly faces a difficult challenge on a short week.

Martin, whose 3.6 average yards per carry is a yard fewer than he recorded while rushing for 1,454 as a rookie in 2012, was injured during Sunday's 31-23 loss to Atlanta. Schiano said it "probably will be a stretch" for Martin to play Thursday, but has not gone into detail of the severity of the injury despite reports that the second-year back suffered a torn labrum.

"I'm not going to get into specifics of exactly what his issue is," he said. "If it was season-ending I'd let you know. But I don't feel that it is right now. ... We're just going to play it by ear and go from there."

Rookie backup Mike James, who rushed for 45 yards on 14 carries Sunday, is expected to start against a Carolina defense that's fourth in the NFL giving up 84.5 yards per game on the ground.

The Panthers are fifth allowing 217.7 passing yards per contest, which also doesn't bode well for a Tampa Bay offense entering this game 31st in both total yards (297.8 per game) and scoring (14.5 points per game).

"(The Panthers are) definitely really talented. They're one of top defensive teams in the league statistically with how they're playing," said Glennon, the North Carolina State product who threw two TDs and no interceptions against the Falcons, but has attempted at least 43 passes in each of this three starts.

Glennon has targeted Vincent Jackson a whopping 36 times in the last two weeks, with the veteran receiver catching 19 balls for 252 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson had 10 receptions for 138 with no scores in the three games prior to that stretch.

He had six catches for 94 yards and a TD during Tampa Bay's 27-21 overtime win at Carolina on Nov. 18 to sweep the 2012 season series.

Newton has completed 63.0 percent of his passes and thrown six TDs with two interceptions while rushing for 163 yards and four scores to split his four career games against the Bucs. He threw for 555 of his 930 career yards versus Tampa Bay last season, but both picks came during a 16-10 season-opening road loss.

After going 21 of 39 with three INTs and no TDs during a 22-6 loss at Arizona on Oct. 6, Newton has gone 35 of 43 for 446 yards with four touchdowns, no picks and a rushing score over the last two weeks.