The PewterReport.com staff shares its thoughts on the upcoming Bucs game and pick who we think we win, including a score prediction and a pick-to-click – a Tampa Bay player we think will play really well. Let us know you thoughts and add your prediction in the comment section.
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS (2-3) vs. Carolina Panthers (3-2)
WHEN: SUNDAY, OCTOBER 13, 9:30 A.M. ET
WHERE: TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM, LONDON, ENGLAND (62,062)
TELEVISION: NFL NETWORK
PLAY-BY-PLAY: RICH EISEN
ANALYSTS: KURT WARNER, STEVE MARIUCCI, MICHAEL IRVIN
SIDELINE: MELISSA STARK
BUCS RADIO: 98ROCK, FLAGSHIP STATION (WXTB-97.9 FM)
PLAY-BY-PLAY: GENE DECKERHOFF
ANALYST: DAVE MOORE
SIDELINE: T.J. RIVES
PewterReport.com Publisher/Bucs Beat Writer Scott Reynolds
The Bucs and Panthers’ rematch game figures to be much different than the game in Carolina in Week 2 with one exception. Tampa Bay’s 20-14 victory was a close affair, and I’m expecting another close game in Week 6. But otherwise it’s different as this game is London, Kyle Allen is in at quarterback for the injured Cam Newton, the entire right side of Tampa Bay’s offensive line is missing, the Bucs secondary has been shellacked through the air the last three weeks, and the Panthers have won three straight after losing their first two games of the season.
Carolina’s a hot team right now, and Christian McCaffrey is a hot player right now and is even getting some early league MVP consideration as he has rushed for 587 yards and six touchdowns, while averaging 5.6 yards per game, with 31 catches for 279 yards and one receiving TD. After being held to 37 yards on 16 carries by the Bucs in Week 2, McCaffrey exploded for 153 yards and a touchdown in a win at Arizona, had 179 total yards and a score in a win at Houston and rushed for 176 yards and two scores and added another TD through the air in a win last week against Jacksonville. Can Todd Bowles’ defense put the clamps on McCaffrey again?
Outside linebacker Shaq Barrett got to Newton three times in Week 2 and will have to get back to his sack attack against Carolina after being held sack-less last week in New Orleans. Barrett’s three sacks versus the Panthers earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors a few weeks ago. Conversely, the Bucs will have to stop Panthers’ first-round pick Brian Burns, who was 3.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery for a touchdown through five games. He could tee off against Josh Wells, who will get the start for Demar Dotson at right tackle, while veteran Earl Watford fills in for injured right guard Alex Cappa.
After struggling to put points up last week at New Orleans, the Bucs offense needs to come to life again in order have a chance of sweeping the Panthers. The emphasis this week should be getting wide receiver Mike Evans and tight end O.J. Howard, as Chris Godwin will continue to get his looks. Both of these teams are evenly matched and this game could go down to the wire. The guess here is that a Matt Gay field goal wins it for Tampa Bay.
Reynolds’ Score Prediction: Bucs 26, Panthers 23
Reynolds’ Pick-To-Click: OLB Shaq Barrett
Reynolds’ Record: 1-4
Pewter Report Editor/Bucs Beat Writer Mark Cook
Back and forth, back and forth. That’s my mind going back and forth on who I think wins this game on Sunday.
One one hand the Bucs have already beaten the Panthers once and should have some confidence going into Sunday. On the other hand, beating a team twice in one season isn’t an easy accomplishment. Add in the fact many left the Panthers for dead just a few weeks ago, and all they have done since that Week 2 loss to the Bucs is win. Without Cam Newton.
But here comes another backup quarterback – the Bucs Achilles heel it seems. Kyle Allen isn’t winning games for the Panthers, but he isn’t losing them either. Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner has done of masterful job of giving Allen a solid gameplay that includes a heavy dose of Christian McCaffrey who has been outstanding over the course of the season – minus when he faced Tampa Bay. If the Bucs bottle up McCaffrey they should win the game. Of course we all thought if the Bucs shut down Matt Brieda, Saquon Barkley and Alvin Kamara they would win. How did that go?
This game, like most in the NFL, will come down to which team can protect their quarterback the best. And that task won’t be easy with guard Alex Capp and tackle Demar Dotson ruled out of Sunday’s game.
Tampa Bay will need to protect quarterback Jameis Winston and it is imperative they get wide receiver Mike Evans back involved in the offense. Don’t expect O.J. Howard to contribute a whole lot as most likely he will be held in often to help block with the absence of Dotson in the lineup.
Like most games in the NFL it will be close and either team is capable of winning. These are two evenly matched teams and it most likely will be close heading into the fourth quarter. The Panthers pull it out with a late field goal and send the Buccaneers home from across the pound with a 2-4 record.
Cook’s Core Prediction: Panthers 27, Bucs 24
Cook’s Pick-To-Click: WR Mike Evans
PewterReport.com Beat Reporter Trevor Sikkema
If this team’s good, they’ll win this week. There, easy enough, right?
Not exactly, but that is still my thought.
I understand that the Buccaneers have a beat up offensive line going up against one of the best defensive lines in the NFL. But Winston has been getting the ball out of his hand at one of the fastest rates in the league, so long drop backs and deep pass protection schemes weren’t in the game plan anyways. The offense is going to remain balanced with a steady dose of both run and pass. Will Earl Watford and Josh Wells on the right side have to step up? Yes, they will. But I don’t think it’s as doomsday as it would be with other teams — it shouldn’t be anyways. But, on that note, the running game will likely need to give this team, more than they did last week. That will hold the key to how easy they can go on this make-shift offensive line. Ronald Jones gets the first long touchdown run of his career this week? Yeah? Maybe?
On the other side of the ball, there’s only one team so far this season that has stopped running back Christian McCaffrey, and it’s the team he’s facing this weekend. Will the Bucs be able to hold McCaffrey under 60 total yards again? Probably not. But if they keep him at less than 100 yards combined between rushing and receiving, that should be enough.
Make Panthers quarterback Kyle Allen beat you — and don’t let him beat you. Shaq Barrett needs a bounce back week. You know what, never mind. Someone on the rest of the defensive line step up and get the quarterback on the ground. (Shaq can feel free to join, too.) Offensive line isn’t the only side of the trenches that needs to step up for Tampa Bay.
Mike Evans scores after a bad week last week and the Bucs win.
Sikkema’s Score Prediction: Bucs 24, Panthers 23
Sikkema’s Pick-To-Click: WR Mike Evans
Sikkema’s Record: 1-4
PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Writer Taylor Jenkins
Since falling to the Bucs in Week 2, the Carolina Panthers have rattled off three consecutive wins over the Cardinals, Texans and Jaguars with quarterback Kyle Allen under center.
Per usual, this game will begin and end with stopping running back Christian McCaffrey, or at least limiting his damage. McCaffrey is first in the league with 105 rushing attempts, first in the league with 587 rushing yards, first in the league with 866 yards from scrimmage and sits seventh in the league at 5.6 yards per carry behind an offensive line that’s averaging 3.66 rushing yards before contact.
Even if Tampa Bay is able to slow down McCaffrey, Allen has been great for Carolina so far this season. The second-year quarterback is 3-0 in his three starts this year, completing 66.7 percent of his passes for 674 yards and five touchdowns while failing to throw an interception.
The Bucs will aim to contain McCaffrey and force Allen to beat them through the air, which isn’t necessarily a formidable task with a secondary that’s currently allowing a league-worst 323.6 passing yards per game.
Defensively the Panthers have a stout front seven and they’re allowing just 197 yards per game through the air. With that said, it will be critical for running backs Peyton Barber and Ronald Jones to keep the Bucs on schedule and avoid letting the offense get backed into long third downs.
All-in-all, I see this game being a hard-fought divisional matchup where neither team pulls away. In a close game, it will test the Bucs resilience and I wouldn’t be surprised if the result once again boils down to one final drive.
Jenkins’ Score Prediction: Bucs 24, Panthers 20
Jenkins’ Pick-To-Click: RB Ronald Jones
Reynolds’ Record: 0-5
PewterReport.com Bucs Beat Writer Matt Matera
With both teams missing some of their most important players, I have a feeling this game is going to be sloppy. Add in the fact that the game is in London so the sky will be grey with some rain, it’s going to take a couple of plays in crucial moments from the Bucs to pull this one out.
The Bucs offensive line is injured on the right side. Alex Cappa and Demar Dotson are both missing this game, so backups Earl Watford and Josh Wells will have to step up and stop a Panthers defensive line that is second in the league with 20 sacks. They will be mismatched but the Bucs will be ready for that with a game plan that will consist of screens, short passes, and large dose of running the ball. The Bucs have ran well all season and it’s time to turn Ronald Jones loose.
Even with Cam Newton missing the last three weeks, the Panthers have won all three games with backup quarterback Kyle Allen. How have they done it? Using Christian McCaffrey as much as they possibly can to mask Allen’s inefficiencies. But that will change this week as the Bucs defense will shut down McCaffrey like they did in Week 2 and how they’ve done against the top running backs all season.
Obviously the Bucs have had a ton of struggles on pass defense as they are last in yards allowed per game with 323.6 yards. They will get reinforcements this week with Jamel Dean retunring to the lineup as well as linebacker Devin White, who should help out with the pass rush on blitzes to the quarterback.
It’s been a one man show with Shaq Barrett getting to the quarterback, meanwhile not many other Bucs’ pass rushers have generated pressure. But against a backup in Allen, the pass rush will improve from a week ago and the defense will get an important turnover in a big moment that sets the Bucs up for a win across the pond.
Matera’s Score Prediction: Bucs 24, Panthers 23
Matera’s Pick-To-Click: ILB Devin White
Matera’s Record: 2-3