The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are reeling, and a date with Carolina could be what the doctor ordered for this ailing Buccaneers team.
There is no question that this stretch of games is the worst that Tampa has played since Tom Brady arrived three seasons ago. The Buccaneers are also making more mistakes on the field on both sides of the ball since Bruce Arians’ first season as head coach.
The Panthers have thrown in the towel on the 2022 season. They are now playing for the number-one pick in 2023.
It looks as if the Panthers may be looking for another quarterback, as Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold, and PJ Walker do not appear to be the answer long-term at quarterback.
Matt Corral is on the IR, so the Panthers haven’t seen him in a regular season game.
Two weeks ago, the Panthers fired their head coach Matt Ruhle as they stumbled to a 1-4 start out of the gate.
This week, the Panthers traded wide receiver Robby Anderson to Arizona after an altercation with the coaching staff on the sideline.
Carolina also traded their best player, running back Christian McCaffrey, to the San Francisco 49ers for future draft choices.
The Panthers expected to improve on their 4-13 record from last season but have continued to regress.
Coming into the matchup with the Buccaneers, the Panthers are last in the NFL in total offense, 29th passing the ball, and 26th in rushing,
Carolina also ranks 26th in scoring, 30th in sacks allowed, and 30th in the red zone.
On paper, this should be an easy win for the Buccaneers. But as we have seen this season, this Buccaneers team has many issues that have prohibited them from winning games and underachieving.
As Bucs prepare for Sunday, Carolina’s NFL offensive rankings (and this is with McCaffrey): 32nd in total offense, 29th in passing, 26th in rushing, 32nd on third down, 30th in the red zone, 30th in sacks allowed %, 26th in scoring.
The offensive line is a mess, especially the left side with Luke Goedeke and Robert Hainsey. Hainsey has been okay but will not make anyone forget Ryan Jensen.
The passing game has been disappointing for the amount of talent on the roster. Todd Bowles addressed that topic with the media this past week. “We definitely talked about that. We’ve got to find a way to get our stars the ball. Move them around, get them off picks, and double teams. We have to find a way to get them the ball more. Obviously, teams are going to try to double him (Mike Evans) and take him away more; we have to do a better job of getting him the ball.”
This is a game where the many things that are ailing the Buccaneers could suddenly get turned around.
Leonard Fournette and the run game have been disappointing, as they are last in the NFL in rushing. However, against the 26th-ranked run Panthers defense, this is a chance for the Buccaneers to gain some traction in the game.
How About Rachaad White? He seems to be an afterthought in the offense so far. This is a game where White should be given an opportunity to get him going and build some confidence.
The Panthers have allowed 19 sacks this season. Their offense is a mess. This is a huge opportunity for the Bucs’ defense to get back to playing at the level everyone has expected.
The Buc’s secondary is starting to look like a MASH unit.
The Bucs will be without Sean-Murphy Bunting and Carlton Davis against the Panthers. Jamel Dean will start in one spot, while the rookie Zyon McCollum could also get his first.
Mike Edwards should be good to go, as an elbow injury has hampered him the last few weeks.
Defensive lineman Akeim Hicks will be out again, and who knows when we may see him on the field. But, listening to Bowles talk about Hicks, I don’t think he knows when he will be able to play, either.
On offense, tight end Cameron Brate will miss the game with a neck injury.
This is a statement game for the Bucs. Tampa needs to dominate the Panthers and win convincingly.
Anything less will feel almost like a loss in Charlotte.
This game will be a turning point for the Bucs this season. When we look back at the 2022 season, we will look to this game as the game that turned things around for this team and got them going in the right direction.
Mike Evans will have two touchdown catches. Chris Godwin, Leonard Fournette, and Rachaad White will also get a touchdown today.
Look for three sacks and two sacks from the Buccaneer defense in a dominating defensive effort.
The Bucs will win 35-10 in Charlotte.