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When and where: December 2, 2018, Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL, 1:00 PM ET
An NFC South showdown between the Carolina Panthers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers will kick off Week 13 of NFL action. The Panthers are coming off three consecutive losses, including a heartbreaker at home last Sunday to the Seattle Seahawks. Meanwhile, the Buccaneers are coming off their first win in five games over the San Francisco 49ers.
Defense struggling in Carolina
Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is statistically having one of his best seasons ever. He has thrown for 2,699 passing yards, 22 touchdowns and only seven interceptions with a career-high completion percentage (69.6) and passer rating (103.7).
Running back Christian McCaffrey is also having a standout season. One could even make the argument that he’s been the best dual-back in the league this year.
He has 757 rushing yards and five touchdowns to go along with 71 receptions for 608 yards and five touchdowns. Both Newton and McCaffrey are having transcendent offensive seasons, and the Panthers are 6-5 on the year riding a three-game losing streak.
The defense has been the most notable problem for the Panthers. They’ve had little trouble stopping the run, but they have struggled on the backend in holding up against the pass. They currently rank in the bottom-half of the NFL in passing yards and points allowed.
Newton went 25-of-30 passing against the Seahawks for 256 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Minus the turnover, it was about as flawless of a performance as could be expected. McCaffrey contributed 17 carries for 125 yards and one touchdown, along with 11 receptions for 112 yards and one touchdown.
He led the team in carries and receptions, and the Panthers still lost the game.
How long will Winston last?
The Buccaneers are in the middle of an ongoing musical chairs session at quarterback featuring Jameis Winston and Ryan Fitzpatrick. There is no consistency for the team at the most important position on the field, and they have resorted to swapping and switching to ride the hot hand of either quarterback. If Winston starts playing poorly, they go to Fitzpatrick. If Fitzpatrick’s magic empties and he starts throwing too many interceptions, they go back to Winston.
The instability at quarterback really puts the Buccaneers’ 3-7 season into perspective.
It’ll be interesting to see how long Winston can actually hold onto his starting job. Perhaps it’ll be awhile if he continues to perform like he did against the 49ers. He had 29 completions for 312 yards and two touchdowns. However, the best stat of the night was the zero turnovers. The Achilles heel all season for the Buccaneers has been their inability to limit turnovers, particularly at the quarterback position.
Along with a more efficient flow to the offense, the Buccaneers also played great defense. They netted four sacks, seven tackles for a loss and six pass deflections in the win.
- Buccaneers are 7-18-1 ATS in their last 26 home games against teams with a winning road record
- Buccaneers are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 games
- Buccaneers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games played on grass
- Buccaneers are 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games against teams in the NFC
- Under is 17-8-1 in Buccaneers last 26 games played in December
- Under is 17-8 in Buccaneers last 25 games after a straight up win of more than 14 points
- Panthers are 10-3 ATS in their last 13 games after a straight up loss
- Panthers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after accumulating more than 250 passing yards in the previous gam