Who: Bucs (4-7) vs. Panthers (6-5)
When: Sunday 1 p.m.
Where: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa
Spread: Panthers by 3 1/2 (Courtesy Vegasinsider.com)
What to watch:
Will Jameis be the Jameis of last week?
He returned to the starting role against the 49ers and Winston played tremendous football last Sunday. With the understanding of some of that was a bad opponent that he was playing at home, still Winston completed many clutch throws and stayed away from the interceptions that have dogged him. He had an over 300-yard passing day with two touchdowns in the air and the Bucs repeatedly moved the football and got points.
In the previous meeting with Carolina, Ryan Fitzpatrick’s interceptions dug Tampa Bay too big of a hole to overcome. Winston playing a solid game without mistakes is vital for the Bucs to have a chance to win.
That phrase is easier said than done. Christian McCaffrey has become one of the best dual-threat running backs in the NFL, especially catching the ball out of the backfield. He burned the Buccaneers badly in the game in Charlotte last month.
The Bucs expect to have linebacker Lavonte David back after missing the last two weeks with injury and he may be matched up at times one on one with the second-year back out of Stanford. If Tampa Bay can keep McCaffrey from making the big plays as Cam Newton’s top Outlet, it will go a long way towards the victory. If McCaffery has 100+ yards from scrimmage, they will likely get a key win for them.
Keep the sacks coming
Over the last six games Tampa Bay has emassed 20 sacks, which is the second most in the NFL over that span. Last week, Jason Pierre-Paul became the first Buccaneer 2005 to register a 10 sack in a single season. Carl Nassib, who the Bucs picked up off of waivers at the beginning of the season has also been a tremendous pass-rusher for them off the right end, as well. Rookie Vita Vella was also constantly in the backfield against the 49ers a week ago including beating Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley on a couple of cases.
Will the Bucs pass rush get to, knock down and sack Cam Newton? If they do Tampa Bay has a great chance to get victory.
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