It’s GAME DAY at Glory Days Grill – Come watch football all season long!
Bucs game day is approaching, and it’s time for the PewterReport.com staff to offer up its weekly game predictions.
Let us know what you think in the article comments section and add your prediction, too.
BUCCANEERS at PANTHERS
WHEN: Sunday, December 26, 2021 | WHERE: Bank of America Stadium | KICKOFF: 1:00 p.m. ET | TV: FOX
PLAY-BY-PLAY: Kevin Kugler |ANALYST: Mark Sanchez | SIDELINE: Laura Okmin
RADIO: 98 ROCK 97.9 FM | PLAY-BY-PLAY: Gene Deckerhoff | ANALYST: Dave Moore | SIDELINE: T.J. Rives
SPANISH RADIO: 96.1 FM | PLAY-BY-PLAY: Carlos Bohorquez | ANALYST: Martin Gramatica
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live game day chat, starting at noon ET on Sunday all the way through to the final whistle.
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– Game Days At Glory Days Grill –
Glory Days Grill is featuring cocktails to put you in the holiday spirit! Their Salted Caramel Pretzel is made with Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Kahlua, cream, caramel and crushed pretzels.
The Gingerbread Martini is made with ABSOLUT Vanilla vodka, cream and ginger. Topped with whipped cream and a gingerbread man cookie.
The best for last is Ben’s Smoked Old Fashioned! Made with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, bitters, cherry and orange peel garnish in a smoked glass.
Brandon | Brooksville | Carrollwood | Fort Myers | Lakeland | New Tampa | Odessa/Lutz | Palm Harbor | Riverview | Sarasota | St. Petersburg | Tallahassee | Tyrone | Wesley Chapel
Scott Reynolds: Bucs Struggle In Carolina, But Prevail
The Bucs will likely be without several key starters for their trip to Carolina to face the Panthers. Matt Rhule has his team playing hard despite their 5-9 record. Will the Bucs show up fired up and ready to win the NFC South after spending Christmas in a hotel room and losing to the Saints in an embarrassing fashion last week? Tampa Bay has had its share of struggles on the road – even with a healthier roster than it has right now.
Bucs CB Carlton Davis III – Photo by: USA Today
Even with the injuries, the Bucs have the better roster on paper, but the team hasn’t always played up to its talent level this season. The fact that the Panthers could play Sam Darnold, who returned to contact practices this week, or Cam Newton at quarterback means the Bucs had to burn valuable practice time studying to face both. Darnold will throw it more than Newton will, and Newton will run it more than Darnold will. The key will be to contain wide receiver D.J. Moore in the passing game. Moore, who is 14 yards away from another 1,000-yard season, had four catches for 96 yards and a TD in his most recent game against the Bucs last year, and had eight receptions for 120 yards in the Week 2 loss at Tampa Bay in 2020. He’s a game-time decision with a sore hamstring, and the Bucs will need a big day from Carlton Davis III.
Ronald Jones II will get the start at running back for the injured Leonard Fournette and should get a heavy workload. He ran for 192 yards, including a 98-yard TD, in Tampa Bay’s 46-23 win at Carolina last year. The return of Antonio Brown and Breshad Perriman should greatly aid Tom Brady and the Bucs’ passing game, which struggled against the Saints’ tight man coverage last Sunday. Tampa Bay is a pass-first team, but without Chris Godwin, Mike Evans and Fournette, who has been a great outlet receiver for Brady this year, achieving a more balanced attack against the Panthers makes a lot of sense. Running the ball can also wear down Carolina’s pass rushers up front. The Panthers have totaled 36 sacks this year, led by Haassan Reddick’s 11 and Brian Burns (nine), and the Bucs allowed four sacks in last week’s loss to the Saints. Tampa Bay wins a close one to become NFC South champions.
Reynolds’ Score Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Panthers 17
Reynolds’ Season Record: 9-5
Jon Ledyard: Bucs Prevail Over Panthers As Defense Rises Up
For the first time this season, I’m not sure what to expect from the Bucs offense. Obviously having Antonio Brown will help, and Rob Gronkowski will bounce back from a brutal game. So will the offensive line, although the Panthers present a significant challenge up front. They are also the blitz-happiest team the Bucs have faced since Miami, which will require lots of preparation. But without Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette and perhaps Mike Evans, this Bucs offense will look extremely different.
Bucs WR Breshad Perriman – Photo by: Cliff Welch/PR
Can Breshad Perriman and Tyler Johnson step up enough to take some pressure off Brown? Will Byron Leftwich be able to adjust the offensive scheme without a volume target like Godwin? Do the Bucs have a running back they can trust on passing downs? In pass protection? Also, have the Bucs really put aside their road woes from early in the season? There could be a lot of new pieces communicating in a loud stadium on offense this week.
But in reality, none of that should matter. The Panthers are an offensive train wreck that a mostly-healthy Bucs defense should stomp out. Carolina just fired its offensive coordinator, and is planning to use Cam Newton and Sam Darnold on Sunday. Both have been bottom-tier NFL quarterbacks this season. They’ve combined for 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Both are two of the worst-graded 2021 quarterbacks, per PFF. The Panthers offensive line is also one of the worst in the league, and top receiver D.J. Moore will likely be a game-time decision (hamstring). Christian McCaffrey is on injured reserve. The Bucs defense needs to step up and bury Carolina in Week 16.
Ledyard’s Score Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Panthers 16
Ledyard’s Season Record: 11-3
Matt Matera: Bucs Get Physical To Get The Job Done
This game will be very telling for the Bucs down the home stretch of the regular season. They have injuries on both sides of the ball, but it’s the offense that concerns me more. Carolina’s defense is not one to be taken lightly, and Tampa Bay can ill afford to not find its footing again after getting shut out last week. Many Bucs players said they weren’t physical enough last week. That won’t happen this time around.
Bucs RB Ronald Jones II – Photo by: USA Today
Because the receiver room could be limited on Sunday, I expect a busy day for Ronald Jones II. He had the best run of his career in Carolina last season with a 98-yard touchdown jaunt. The ground game might be even better with Jones starting, he’s more of a pure rusher. It’s getting help in the passing game where the questions arise. Antonio Brown is back, but he hasn’t played in over two months. How much of an impact can he have? Well, regardless of what they get from him, as long as they can have a rebound game from Rob Gronkowski, they’ll be okay.
Tampa Bay’s defense is getting into shape late in the season. It’ll especially help playing against Cam Newton, who isn’t the same MVP quarterback from six years ago. The Bucs’ secondary is almost fully healthy, which could lead to tight coverage and more opportunities for sacks up front by Shaq Barrett and Joe Tryon-Shoyinka. There are reports as well that Sam Darnold could also get into the game, but he hasn’t been available since Week 9 and is always privy for an interception. Look for the Bucs to create two turnovers in this game and get a win as a late Christmas gift.
Matera’s Score Prediction: Buccaneers 28, Panthers 17
Matera’s Season Record: 9-5
JC Allen: Reeling Bucs Pull Out A Close Victory In Charlotte
The Bucs are banged up pretty bad right now on both sides of the ball. Chris Godwin is lost for the season. Leonard Fournette is on injured reserve. And Mike Evans’ availability is in doubt. That’s just on offense. The defense is facing its own injury woes as well. The team’s leader and longest tenured player, Lavonte David, is also out on injured reserve. While Antoine Winfield, Jr. has also been ruled out for Sunday, missing his second straight game.
Yet the Bucs have plenty of weapons on offense and they should be able to move the ball. Antonio Brown is returning from suspension and with a solid game plan utilizing himself and Rob Gronkowski, Tampa Bay should be able to put points on the board. The offensive line will need to do a much better job allowing Tom Brady to have time to let things develop. That in conjunction with Ronald Jones II seizing his opportunity in the running game, will be keys to the team’s success.
If the defense picks up where they left off from the Saints game they should be in great shape. They will face another struggling team with bad quarterback play. Although the Panthers do have some weapons they will need to account for. Consistent pressure and perhaps a few turnovers by the defense will go a long way to secure a Bucs win and a NFC South Crown.
Allen’s Score Prediction: Buccaneers 23, Panthers 17
Allen’s Season Record: 10-4
Paul Atwal: Beat-Up Bucs Barely Beat Panthers
I have no idea. The Tom Brady-led Buccaneers just lost a football game with a score of 9-0 – in 2021. Nothing makes sense. And to make forecasts even more difficult, personnel could prompt the offense into a mini-schematic overhaul before Sunday. Moreover, it’s hard to even tell how good the Panthers defense is! They have the sixth best EPA/play, but that’s largely affected by the offenses they’ve played – and they haven’t played many good ones. Contrarily, PFF views the Carolina defense as the 19th-best in the league.
Panthers HC Matt Rhule – Photo by: USA Today
I have faith in the Bucs defense in this game. Last week, they shut down a quarterback who’s a pretty good runner and an awful thrower. Run that back one time. Unlike the Panthers defense, I can say with confidence that their offense is bad. Even EPA and PFF are aligned in thinking that the only unit worse belongs to the Texans.
The Buccaneers will eke out a win, but it won’t be crisp. How could it be when Lavonte David, Chris Godwin, and Mike Evans are suddenly out? While Rob Gronkowski and Antonio Brown provide plenty of firepower for Brady, I’m skeptical of Tyler Johnson, Ronald Jones, and Cameron Brate. Those three don’t need to be excellent, but they do need to be better than they were last Sunday.
Atwal’s Score Prediction: Buccaneers 24, Panthers 17
Atwal’s Season Record: 11-3
Kasey Hudson: Deep Threat, Speedster, And Gronk Help Bucs Win
The fashion in which the Bucs lost to the Saints leaves much up in the air. No one is discounting the fact that Tampa Bay lost multiple key players vs. New Orleans. It was the inability to rely on the “next man up” that cost the Bucs dearly. It’s a concerning matter as the Bucs head into Sunday’s game without certain starters. Carolina is not much of a threat, but it is a desperate team, and a desperate team can beat a depleted Bucs that cannot get points on the board.
The WR3 slot has to show up Sunday if the Bucs want to leave Bank of America stadium with an 11-4 record. Breshad Perriman, I am talking to you. Yes, Antonio Brown will be returning. Which will be a huge help if Brown picks up where he left off before injury and suspension. Between a deep threat, a speedster, and a Gronk the pass game has a chance. As for the run game, Leonard Fournette has been placed on injury reserve, making Ronald Jones II a starter again. Jones has played well against the Panthers. His most memorable moment stunned fans last season when he rushed in a 98-yard touchdown.
Recently, the stronger portion of the Bucs has been the defense. It will be an adjustment without Lavonte David, but Jamel Dean and Mike Edwards are set to return. Carolina has been dabbling back and forth between Cam Newton, P.J Walker, and Sam Darnold looking for a rhythm to ignite the offense. The likelihood of them finding a rhythm this season is slim. The Panthers rank 31st in yards per play and have averaged 4.3 yards per play over their last three games. This is an offense Tampa Bay’s defense can pick apart. Literally, it is time for some big picks.
Hudson’s Score Prediction: Buccaneers 27, Panthers 20
Hudson’s Season Record: 10-4