The Carolina Panthers (3-3) have followed up a disappointing start to 2013 by reeling off two straight against the hapless Minnesota Vikings and St. Louis Rams. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-6) offer much of the same competition after falling short against the Atlanta Falcons today.
NFL Week 8 Matchup: Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Point Spread Prediction: Panthers by 5.5 (Early Spread: Panthers by 6.5)
The Bucs are still searching for win No. 1 in a year that saw their “franchise” quarterback get cut and their “hot-shot” coach from the college ranks hammer the nails in his tenure’s coffin. And we’re only halfway through. Mike Glennon just seems ways away from being prepared to start at this level and Doug Martin is not getting the line push he needs to take over the game. (Update: Who knows how long the shoulder injury will keep him out. Man up, Mike James)
Cam Newton‘s job security is pretty safe while head coach Ron Rivera is in a season-long fight for his job. Ironically, it could be the defense that saves Rivera if it continues to reel off multi-turnover games and guide Carolina to the postseason. Going DT 1-2 in the draft with Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short has showed immediate returns. This also enchances the dominance of Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy outside.
Key Matchup: Steve Smith vs. Darrelle Revis
Bucs defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan likes to put Revis in a lot more zone than his former squad, and the results thus far are not fantastic. Revis is accustomed to putting receivers on his island; opposing No. 1 receivers are beating other parts of the Tampa secondary as a result. Revis hasn’t been perfect this year, but if he can go one-on-one to with Smith it could go a long way to debilitating the Panthers pass offense.