Carolina Panthers (4-3; 3-4 ATS; 4-3 O/U) vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4; 1-4-1 ATS; 4-2 O/U)
NFL: Sunday, October 29, 2017 at 1:00pm EST
Line: Tampa Bay -2.5
The Carolina Panthers will clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a big NFC South showdown Sunday afternoon from Raymond James Stadium. The Panthers were silenced 17-3 by the Bears last week, and the Buccaneers are coming off a tough 30-27 road loss to the Bills last weekend. The Buccaneers defeated the Panthers in both meetings last season, winning 17-14 in the first meeting and 17-16 in the second contest.
Panthers Offense Sputters in Loss to Bears
The Carolina Panthers could not find their offense in their surprising 17-3 road loss to the Bears last week. Cam Newton was not at his best, converting on 21 of 34 passes for 211 yards with no touchdowns against two interceptions. The 28-year old quarterback has hit a bump, throwing five picks in his last two games. He has now recorded 1687 passing yards with a poor 9:10 TD to INT ratio this season. Panthers top receiver Kelvin Benjamin led the Panthers with 65 receiving yards on three catches in the loss. The 26-year old wide receiver is having a strong season, amassing 436 yards on the season. Jonathan Stewart managed 48 yards on his 14 carries, and leads the Panthers with 295 rushing yards. The Panthers offense has gone quiet on a few occasions this season, scoring 13 or fewer points in three games.
The Carolina defense played well in the loss to the Bears, conceding only 153 total yards and limited Chicago to a 2 for 11 efficiency on third downs. The Panthers defense has been outstanding against both the run and pass this season, sporting the fourth-ranked pass and rush defense. They have now dropped two straight and are in second place in the NFC South.
Winston’s Big Game Not Enough in Loss to Bills
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers could not hold on late for a much-needed victory in their 30-27 road loss to the Bills last Sunday. Jameis Winston came through with one of his best performances of the season, connecting on 32 of 44 passes for 384 yards with three touchdowns against one interception. The 23-year old quarterback is having a strong season, collecting 1643 passing yards with a 10:4 TD to INT ratio. The Bucs running game only managed 69 yards on 25 carries in the loss, with Doug Martin recording 49 rushing yards. The 28-year old running back has now registered 176 rushing yards in three games played. Buccaneers top receiver Mike Evans continued his hot play with seven grabs for 88 yards in the loss. The 24-year old wide receiver has now brought in 183 yards in his last two games and has notched a total of 459 receiving yards on the season. The Tampa Bay offense has been very productive in two straight games with no wins to show for their efforts.
The Buccaneers defense could not stop the Bills when needed and allowed a total of 434 total yards. Their defense has let them down in two straight weeks and continue to struggle against the pass. They have made an NFL low seven sacks on the season. Tampa Bay is now in last place in the NFC South with a 2-4 record.
The Carolina Panthers are:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games in Tampa Bay.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight up loss.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in week eight.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are:
- 0-4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- 0-7-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 150 rushing yards in their previous game.
- 5-15-1 ATS in their last 21 home games against a team with a winning road record.
I am taking the points with the Panthers in this matchup. The Buccaneers pass defense is struggling, conceding an average of 295 passing yards per game, so I expect Newton to rebound with a big game. In addition, the Panthers defense has been solid, limiting opponents to an average of only 180 passing yards per game, so they should be able to at least contain Winston, and Carolina has also excelled against the run. Tampa Bay has allowed 38 and 30 points respectively in their last two games, so I am confident the Panthers are the play in this one.
Pick: Carolina Panthers
The Panthers offense should have their way against the Bucs weak pass defense, and Winston is looking good for Tampa Bay. The Bucs defense is no doubt scuffling right now, and the Panthers will be eager to redeem themselves from last week’s performance, plus the over is 9-1 in their last 10 games after allowing less than 250 total yards in their previous game. Winston has thrown for over 300 yards four times this season, and the over is 4-1 in their last five games overall.