Friday, November 16, 2012

My Panthers-Bucs prediction and a few pregame notes

Once upon a time, the 2012 Carolina Panthers were considered a real possibility to make the NFL playoffs. They brimmed with optimism in training camp. Their Pro Bowl center took out a newspaper ad saying they would win the next Super Bowl.

And then Tampa happened.

On Sept.9th, the loss to Tampa Bay set the tone for this season -- and what a jarring tone it was. The Panthers had crushed Tampa Bay twice in 2011, but the season opener for both teams was a completely different story.

Carolina could only rush for 10 yards, foreshadowing what would be a season-long problem. DeAngelo Williams had minus-1 yard in six carries, which meant Jonathan Stewart (who didn't play) actually led his backfield mate in rushing after the first game.

Tampa Bay led 13-0 at halftime and won 16-10. The Panthers really have never quite recovered. At 2-7, they now reside in the cellar that was supposed to be the Bucs' home in 2012. Tampa Bay, at 5-4, has a shot at a wild card playoff berth.

-- Have you seen how many points the Bucs have been putting up? In going 4-1 over their past five games, they have scored at least 28 points in every single game. Luke Kuechly and company will have quite a struggle Sunday, particularly with rookie running back Doug Martin (862 rushing yards). Martin has been one of the best rookies in the NFL this season, and his yardage total is nearly as much as Cam Newton, Stewart and Williams combined (873).

-- Newton's arm will be the key to the Panthers' offense Sunday, not his legs. Tampa Bay gives up a ton of yardage through the air -- the Bucs are dead last in the NFL in passing yards allowed (Newton had 303 in the first game). With the attention Tampa Bay always pays to Steve Smith, this could be a Sunday where Brandon LaFell comes up big.

-- With the Panthers fumbling through another season and the holidays around the corner, I expect Sunday's crowd will be somewhat down. But the game that really might end Carolina' 101-game sellout streak comes Dec.23rd, when the Panthers host the Oakland Raiders two days before Christmas.

-- The Panthers have played seven close games this year and only been blown out twice (to each of the Manning brothers). I foresee another close game Sunday -- I am only 4-5 on Panther predictions this season after getting the Denver game right last week. My prediction: Tampa Bay 26, Carolina 22.


Anonymous said...


Tampa is hot as a pistol. Freeman killing everybody. No contest here espec from bottom feeders.

Denver and Manning could have easily won 50-0 last week.

Tampa D destroying opponents like ragdolls and new ex coach from Rutgers is a maniac and fans love him.

TAMPA by 40


imronburgundy said...

The only way we're going to remotely score 22 pts is if our O-line actually shows up Sunday. If not, our defense better return some INT's for td's.

samurai said...

The truth hurts at times. I am now wondering where this team will go from here, and that includes on in to next season.

Anonymous said...

That was tough getting last weeks prediction correct. Nice work, Scott

Evan said...

Jeremy Bridges revitalizes the Panthers o-line, they run the ball decently, give Cam enough time to throw, and the defense keeps up the good work.

24-21 Panthers!

Anonymous said...

Panthers are gonna blow em out of BofA - Stewy is worth 6 points at least and Bridges will be fresh

Anonymous said...

Those thinking this is a blowout TB's way are misinformed. NFC South battle to the end and we find a way to choke it away like the other 4 games we should have won. Sick of this Panthers team frankly.

Anonymous said...

Scott it's not rocket science. Just pick the Panthers to lose each week and you would be 7-2 this year on predictions. And an impressive 30-11 for the last three seasons.

Anonymous said...

As a lifelong fan this is a dissappointing and disgraceful season to endure. Based upon the Panthers play this season there is no clear indicator of which way the game will go. A lot of fans are angry after signs of a promising season this year only to be jilted by the horrible play. Richardson needs to realize that whoever the next coach and GM will be (not sold on Rivera) that maybe someone other than Richardson needs to select the personel that will lead the Panthers.

Anonymous said...

They need to trade lots of players and start thinking a few years out......sorry to say this but smith will not get a ring in Carolina unless he signs another extension because this program is a long long long ways away from winning ......