NFL Predictions: Panthers at Buccaneers Odds and Week 8 Picks
by Alan Matthews - 10/22/2013
I have a feeling if the Bucs didn't have a short week that Coach Greg Schiano might not be the team's coach today. Tampa Bay lost 31-23 at Atlanta on Sunday, a game in which Schiano strangely decided to have his team kick a field goal with five minutes left when the Bucs were down two touchdowns. What's the point there? Tampa Bay still would have needed two scores to tie. Yes, it was fourth-and-23, but I don't understand why you don't throw one in the end zone -- maybe you get a pass interference or defensive holding call for a first down. After hosting Carolina on Thursday night, the Bucs travel to Seattle, where things could get ugly. I honestly could see Schiano getting the gate if Tampa Bay is embarrassed at home against the Panthers.
As for Carolina, it appears Ron Rivera will keep his job through the season. It was definitely not looking promising for the former Bears linebacker after a 22-6 loss in Arizona in Week 5, but the Cats have bounced back with easy wins over Minnesota and St. Louis. Not the best competition, but a win is a win. Now at 3-3, Carolina is only a half-game out of a wild-card spot. The Panthers need to take care of business here and then next week at home against Atlanta, because then the schedule gets much tougher.
Panthers at Buccaneers Betting Story Lines
If there was a positive from Sunday's loss for the Bucs, it's that rookie QB Mike Glennon looked pretty good. He was 26-of-44 for 256 yards with two touchdowns and no picks. According to the team site, Glennon's 130 attempts and 76 completions are the most a rookie quarterback has ever compiled over his first three starts. Glennon is definitely developing a rapport with Vincent Jackson. The former Charger has been targeted 36 times in the past two games and has 19 catches for 252 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bucs did get some bad news on Sunday in that running back Doug Martin was lost to a shoulder injury. Some reports have Marin maybe out for the year, but the team hasn't confirmed that. He certainly won't play Thursday. Martin has rushed for 456 yards and a score this season. Rookie Mike James, a sixth-round pick in the 2013 draft, looks to be the featured back going forward. Because of Martin's injury, the Bucs made an awesome "Rainey Skye" pair of transactions on Monday. They claimed running back Bobby Rainey off waivers from Cleveland and waived rookie receiver Skye Dawson.
Carolina managed only 282 total yards in Sunday's 30-15 win over St. Louis, but Cam Newton was nearly perfect, going 15-of-17 for 204 yards and a touchdown. He was great the game before against Minnesota, so maybe a light has come on after throwing three picks in the Cardinals loss. In Carolina's three wins, Newton is 50-for-70 for 669 yards and seven touchdowns while also rushing for two scores. It's possible the Panthers will get running back Jonathan Stewart off the PUP list this week. He's going to practice, but with the short turnaround the team may wait until next week to get him game action.
A great matchup to watch in this one should be Jackson against Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. He returned a pick for a score against the Rams and hasn't allowed a passing touchdown since Week 14 of last season. The Carolina defense leads the league in yards allowed and is No. 2 in points (13.8 per game).
The Cats have been Schiano's punching bag. In Week 1 last season, Tampa Bay beat visiting Carolina, 16-10. The Panthers managed all of 10 yards rushing in that one. Newton threw for 303 yards but was picked off twice. Martin rushed for 95 yards for Tampa Bay, and Josh Freeman actually was decent, going 16-of-24 for 138 yards and a TD. Freeman's second-to-last win as a Buc came in Charlotte in Week 11 of 2012, 27-21 in overtime. He threw three touchdown passes, including the tying score to Jackson with 12 seconds left (and a two-point conversion) and then to Dallas Clark in OT. Martin rushed for 138 yards. Munnerlyn returned a Freeman pick 74 yards for a score. Carolina was up 11 with a little over four minutes remaining.
Panthers at Buccaneers NFL Week 8 Betting Odds and Trends
At BookMaker, Carolina opened as a 5.5-point favorite with a total of 39.5. The Panthers are 3-3 ATS (1-2 on road) and 3-3 “over/under” (2-1 away). Tampa Bay is 1-5 ATS (1-2 at home) and 2-4 O/U (1-2 at home). The Panthers are 5-1 ATS in their past six against teams with a losing record. The Bucs are 0-4 ATS in their past four after a loss. The over is 5-0 in Carolina's past five against the NFC South. The over is 5-0 in Tampa Bay's past five October games. The under is 8-2 in the Bucs' past 10 following a loss. The favorite has covered nine of the past 11 meetings. The over is 4-1 in the past five.
NFL Predictions: Panthers at Buccaneers Betting Picks for Week 8
This is a chance for Carolina to get above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2008 season, when Jake Delhomme was the QB, and I don't think the Cats will blow it. With no Martin to worry about, the Panthers should be able to harass Glennon all night. Take Carolina and the over.
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