Cleat Geeks

Monday Night Football Match up: Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Carolina Panthers

Tampa Bay (1-3) at Carolina (1-3)
To close off 2016’s Columbus Day, the Tampa Bay Bucks square off in a division match up against the Carolina Panthers. Both teams desperately need a win to stay in competition for the NFC South, and Carolina’s first choice at QB will sidelined with a head injury. This one will be interesting to watch.

Photo by: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Photo by: Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-3)
The Bucks are coming off a loss to Denver and, at that, three consecutive losses. Two of their last three games have been blowouts, and Tampa Bay needs to figure it out coming into week five. Tampa QB Jameis Winston has thrown for eight TDs this year, but has nine turnovers in the past three games alone. Winston will need to exploit a lower end secondary in Carolina to win the game; a secondary that, only a week ago, allowed Julio Jones to have a historic day and catch 300 yards through the air. While Julio Jones is not on the Bucks side on Monday night, Mike Evans has played extremely well this season. His third year out of Texas A&M he is among leaders for receptions (26) and receiving yards (360). Jameis and Evans will need to have a day and put up big points. Tampa Bay’s defense ranks 27th overall for run defense, and they have allowed loads of points in each game this year allowing 32.0 PPG. Their turnover differential is also with the league’s worst at -9; Tampa’s defense has only forced two turnovers all year (one int and one fumble). The Bucks will have to utilize the big play with Mike Evans, be aggressive to the football, and be at their very best if they want a chance to beat Carolina at home on prime time.

Carolina Panthers (1-3)

derekandersoncarolinapanthersPerhaps the biggest surprise of the year, aside from the Vikings being undefeated without Bridgewater or Peterson, is that the defending NFC champs are 1-3. The Panthers are on a two game losing streak losing to the stonewall defense in Minnesota and the red hot Matt Ryan and his Falcons. They haven’t played bad football this season by any means, but they need to tighten up on defense. This should be a good game for the Panthers to get things back on track and get back to chasing the Falcons for the number one spot in the NFC South. With former MVP Cam Newton (concussion) not dressing for Carolina, Derek Anderson takes over under center. He actually looked pretty good vs. the Falcons when he filled in mid game; yet, the Falcons pass D is among the worst in the league but, again, so is the Panthers… Interestingly, the last two times Anderson has started for Carolina have been against the Bucks; he is 2-0. Also, Cameron Artis-Payne will start in place of the injured Jonathon Stewart (hamstring), but the Buccaneer run D has been less than stellar this season so don’t expect too much trouble there. Carolina’s defense, for the most part, has been alright. With two defensive touchdowns, five picks, and two fumble recoveries, their D wants the ball. However, they have to keep opposing offenses out of the endzone if they want to start winning games. The Panthers have allowed 29.5 PPG this year, very uncharacteristic of their usual top tier defense. This is a great game for the Panthers to turn things around against the turnover prone Winston and prove to their fans and the NFL their season is far from over.

Prediction: Tampa Bay- 17 Carolina 27

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