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A Preview of Week 10

After the stinging, controversial loss in Atlanta, Tampa Bay returns home a humbled team, awaiting an offensive scrap heap at home against Carolina. Let’s dig deeper.

When Tampa is throwing: Josh Freeman’s trust in Benn is growing from week to week and I think this could be anywhere from a field goal-type game where they move the ball comfortably between the 20’s to a play-action field day if Blount gets rolling. The Panthers don’t have the kind of pass rush to bring down a mobile quarterback like Freeman. They do have a LB in James Anderson who can run with Kellen Winslow and their only likely Pro Bowler in free safety Charles Godfrey. Edge: Tampa Bay, slightly.

When Tampa is running: LeGarrette Blount with the prospect of Earnest Graham back? We really don’t get to see how good the Panthers D could be overall because their offense never has lengthy drives and often turns the ball over. They are allowing 3.8 yards a carry, though some of that is teams just running the clock out. Edge: Tampa Bay.

When Carolina is passing: Wow, Jimmy Clausen hasn’t had much support but he hasn’t looked good, save for a few plays against New Orleans. Sooner or later, he will click with Steve Smith. Smith has been saddled his whole career by never having an elite quarterback or a top-flight receiver to take double teams off him. Smith had 1563 yards receiving with 12 TDs in 2005 and 1421 yards with 6 TDs in just 14 games in 2008. Tampa Bay has a terrifying secondary and a slowly improving pass rush. Edge: Tampa Bay.

When Carolina is running: This was Carolina’s bread and butter a year ago. Now, their run game is toast. Mike Goodson gets a big chance and will try to make the most of it against a bad Tampa Bay run defense. Edge: even.

Prediction: I would love for this game to be exciting, because I have a hard time believing John Fox and his staff are bad. As it stands, the Panthers will stay on pace for the #2 overall pick. The Panthers’ brass may hit the panic button after this season and only look at offensive coaches as they are only averaging 11 points a game and have committed 25 turnovers. I see a close game open up in the 4th with a defensive or special teams TD. Buccaneers 27, Panthers 10.

The rest of the games (home team in bold):

Lions 44, Bills 33
Jets 24, Browns 7
Texans 38, Jaguars 20
Bengals 21, Colts 17
Titans 21, Dolphins 20
Broncos 21, Chiefs 13
Giants 21, Cowboys 20
Cardinals 31, Seahawks 21
Vikings 35, Bears 34
49ers 17, Rams 6
Steelers 35, Patriots 27
Redskins 28, Eagles 21

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