Who wins between the Bucs and the Panthers? The simple answer is the Panthers. But it may not be that simple.
Remember the last time they played on a Thursday night. It was ugly. Cam was the QB and missed throws and was pounded by the Tampa Bay rush.
On paper the Panthers are the better team and should win. They need to win. 4-3 headed into the bye week is a lot better than 3-4, plus you don’t want to lose the head to head tiebreaker with Tampa Bay.
Here are some of the worries:
- Injuries are stacking up. Tackle Greg Little is likely out with a concussion. Others who did not practice Wednesday were: Christian McCaffrey (back), Gerald McCoy (knee), Christian Miller (ankle), Eric Reid (ankle) and Eric Reid (ankle). Shaq Thompson (ankle), Brian Burns (wrist) and Chris Manhertz (concussion) did practice. Of course Cam Newton is still out with his foot. I would expect most of these guys to play Sunday morning.
- Disrupted schedule. Both teams have had their practice and days off disrupted because of travel and the time difference in jolly ole England. How will the teams handle the disruption? That is a key. Again remember how ugly that Thursday night was.
- Playing at 9:30 a.m. eastern. It may or may not be a factor.
- Will Kyle Allen’s Cinderella slipper continue to fit? Will his feet swell on the long plane flight? Will the Bucs pass rush be as effective as the first meeting?
The Panthers are the better team. Hopefully they will show it in London Sunday.
My skeptical pick: Panthers 31 Bucs 27.