After getting spanked on Thursday by their division foe earlier this season, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers visit the Carolina Panthers riding a three-game winning streak. What looked a laugher following Carolina’s 31-13 win in October now has the makings of a battle on Dec. 1.
NFL Week 13 Matchup, Game Time and TV Info: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers (1 p.m. ET Sunday on FOX
Point Spread Prediction: Panthers by 7 (Early line: Panthers by 9.5)
Cam Newton collected touchdowns through the ground and the air back on Oct. 24 by working peripheral options like Ted Ginn Jr. and Brandon LaFell. Someone besides the Bucs’ shutdown corner needs to step up in the secondary so this pass defense and supplement an excellent run unit fronted by Gerald McCoy.
Mike Glennon has recently moved ahead of Geno Smith and EJ Manuel on the rookie quarterback board. The latter two have all the potential in the world, but Glennon is surprisingly consistent and competent for a rookie quarterback. A rookie QB’s best friend is a good running game and Bobby Rainey has surprisingly delivered that.
Key Matchup: Darrelle Revis (if he returns from groin injury) vs. Steve Smith
Both Smith’s scuffles and big plays seem to ignite Carolina. Revis does a good job of not allowing either of those. Carolina destroyed Tampa even with Revis shutting down Smith in their Thursday night meeting earlier in the year, but the Bucs have played much better football in recent weeks — making this battle one that could potentially determine the outcome.