Thursday Night Football: Week 2 Preview

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Carolina Panthers

Bank of America Stadium

Charlotte, NC

Betting

The Panthers are currently the favorite to win tonight’s game and Bovada has them at -320 on the money line and -7.0 on the spread. Sportsbooks believe this game will be high scoring as the O/U is currently set at 49.0 points (-115 on the under). To summarize, Bovada specifically, believes that Carolina will win tonight’s game by at least 7 points and that the total combined points by both teams will be less than 49.

Injuries

Greg Olson is questionable for Carolina and if he doesn’t play, the Tampa Bay defense will have one less weapon to worry about and can focus more on Christian McCaffrey. On the defensive side of the ball, Rashaan Gaulden and Bruce Irvin are questionable and out for Carolina respectfully. What is supposed to be a high powered offense for Tampa Bay, they will have some holes to attack on the Panthers defensive side of the ball.

Carolina Offense vs. Tampa Bay Defense

The Panthers offense is centered around superstar tailback Christian McCaffrey and it showed last week. McCaffrey touched the ball 29 times for over 200 yards and scored twice against the stout defensive of the Rams in Week 1. After a tough loss, Cam Newton will have to improve his passing this week against a poor Tampa Bay secondary and look to get young wideout Curtis Samuel more touches.

The Buccaneers’ defense is strong among the front-7 and their safeties, but their corners are not good by league standards. This could benefit them for this game as the Panthers passing game is not the strongest, allowing the Bucs to focus on McCaffrey and the underneath passing game/rushing of Cam Newton.

Tampa Bay Offense vs. Carolina Defensive

The Buccaneers offense had high hopes going into Week 1 but struggled mightily against a poor San Francisco team. Jameis Winston has yet to live up to his potential and continues to turn the ball over consistently. Mike Evans was held to 2 catches and 28 yards last week and that simply won’t cut it for the pro bowl caliber receiver if the Buccaneers want to win.

The Panthers defense has a revenge storyline for this game as former Buccaneers DT and All-Pro Gerald McCoy returns to face the team that cut him this past May after 9 great seasons. Similar to the Bucs defense, the Panthers are great across the board besides for cornerback (with James Bradberry being the lone exception). James Bradberry will probably shadow Mike Evans, leaving Eric Reid to play over the top and run sideline to sideline to ballhawk the turnover-prone Jameis Winston.

Prediction

Panthers: 25

Buccaneers: 17

Guaranteed touchdown scorer: Christian McCaffrey

Dart throw touchdown scorer: Dare Ogunbowale

Conclusion

What do you think of tonight’s match up of NFC South hopefuls? Who will win tonight and what will the score be? Let me know in the comments below!

-Mitchell Seefeldt

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