Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Free NFL Picks & Week 1 Odds
by Tony Sink - 7/22/2014
Sunday, September 7, 2014, 4:25 PM, FOX
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
For Updated Odds on This Game Click Here
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who will be hosting the Carolina Panthers in their first game of the season, will hope that the many free agents they added over the offseason will help them finally return to the playoffs in 2014.
Last year, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lost their first eight games and finished with a 4-12 record. They finished with the worst passing game in the league and their defense gave up 24.3 points per game.
By allowing cornerback Darrelle Revis to leave, the Bucs were able to use that saved money on center Evan Dietrich-Smith, defensive end Michael Johnson and Alterraun Verner, among others. They also drafted a big-play wide receiver in Mike Evans and a solid third-down back in Charles Sims.
Last season, the Carolina Panthers were able to make the playoffs for the first time since 2008 by finishing atop the NFC South with a 12-4 record. Running back DeAngelo Williams and quarterback Cam Newton led one of the better rushing teams in the league, while the Panthers' defense gave up just 15.1 points per game.
On top of re-signing most of their key free agents, the Panthers were able to add safety Thomas DeCoud and cornerback Antoine Cason during the offseason. In the draft, they were able to get a much-needed big wide receiver in Kelvin Benjamin, while also grabbing highly-rated defensive end Kony Ealy in the second round.
Tony's Pick: Take Tampa Bay
Read more articles by Tony Sink
Get all of this Weeks NFL picks
Get all of this Weeks Guaranteed Expert NFL Picks