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A Preview of Week 16

When Tampa Bay is throwing:
The Buccaneers have had 8 straight losses for many reasons. One of them has been the inability to stretch the field. They undoubtedly have scouts watching these bowl games, scouring for someone to line up across from Mike Williams. Arrelious Benn will be better next year, fully healed from ACL surgery. The Buccaneers have scored over 19 points just one time during this 8-game catastrophe. The Panthers’ opposing QB’s have a 22 TD to 10 INT ratio, and a 94.4 QB rating. This includes a game against the Bears in which Cutler didn’t throw much, and includes games against Curtis Painter, T.J. Yates, and Christian Ponder. Edge: Panthers, slightly.

When Tampa Bay is running: Blount had just 11 carries for 19 yards in a week 13 meeting, but that’s not a good enough sample size. He carried 19 times for 91 yards and a touch earlier last season. They also passed the ball more efficiently with fewer INTs then. Edge: Panthers, slightly.

When Carolina is throwing: The Tampa Bay defense is bad. It’s hard to tell how bad, because the offense has had 15 or fewer first downs 5 of the last 6 weeks. Freeman and company have also turned the ball over 20 times in those 6 contests. I’d say it is still pretty bad and Cam Newton is not a good QB to face when your pass rush isn’t good. Edge: Panthers, slightly.

When Carolina is running: Opposing backs have carried for 1976 yards and 20 TDs. Edge: Panthers.

PREDICTION: Carolina is an up-and-coming team with a real edge to them. Their defense will give Tampa Bay opportunities, but Carolina has been better at keeping possession and they can score touchdowns a lot of different ways. Panthers 27, Buccaneers 24.

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