Monday Night Football this week features the Tampa Bay Buccaneers playing visitor to the Carolina Panthers at the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte. Both teams are struggling so far this season, each of them at 1-3. Another loss for either of these teams will likely mean they won’t make the playoffs. At this time, Cam Newton is on concussion protocol, so the Panthers may have to rely on journeyman QB Derek Anderson.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers
Point spread: Carolina -4.5
Date: Monday, October 10, 2016
Location: Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte
The Panthers are not looking like the team that went 15-1 last season. They had the league’s top offense, and Cam Newton was named league MVP. Now, with a 1-3 start on the year, they seem like a team struggling with their identity. Cam Newton went out last week in their game against the Falcons after taking a heavy hit during a two-point conversion, and they lost that game 48-33. The only win they have so far this year is against the floundering 49ers.
Cam Newton ranks 20th in the NFL in passing yards with just 974 on the season. The Panthers offense ranks fourth in the league, averaging 386.5 yards per game. If he needs to be replaced for this game, it’ll be with Derek Anderson, who replaced Newton after he was injured, and threw for 172 yards and two touchdowns. Anderson is also particularly good at beating the Bucs, having led Carolina to two victories over them in 2014.
This will be the 32nd time these two teams have played each other and the Panthers have the historical advantage, with the series being 20-11. The Panthers have won the last six games between these two teams. Even without Newton, the Panthers are still favored to win this matchup on our NFL odds.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another loss for the Bucs will not bode well for the rest of their season. Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston has also thrown the second most interceptions in the league with eight. Their offense has been woefully inconsistent, sitting in the bottom half of the league with 341 yards per game. Their rush offense is even worse, with just 82.5 yards per contest. They rank 31st in league defensively for most points allowed this season with 128.
Injuries are crippling this team, who will be without Gerald McCoy and Noah Spence, as well as their best running back, Doug Martin. Without Martin, the Bucs can’t seem to pick up their running game. The Bucs have been held to just seven points twice out of three games, including last week’s 27-7 home loss to the Broncos.
The best chance for a Buccaneers win is if indeed Cam Newton is out, and if Jameis Winston is having a good day. They are currently the underdogs in this matchup, and barring a miraculous display by the Bucs, the Panthers should be able to eek out a win, even without their star quarterback.
Panthers vs. Buccaneers Prediction