Date/Time: December 1st, 1:00 PM ET
Spread: Carolina -8
Week 13 of the NFL season is here! With all of the games on the docket each and every week, we are going to be zeroing in on just one side or total that we think is the best of the bunch. Join us today, look at the game on Sunday, December 1st between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Carolina Panthers.
Last week, we made the right call about Tampa Bay, and we made an even better call that teasing it with the ‘over’ would be an easy play to make. This time around though, we are going to be fading the Bucs, who we expect to return to their old ways in this game.
Against Detroit, we saw a great spot of potential for the Buccaneers. They were flying high off of a pair of wins, and they were playing against a team which had faltered just a bit and had the biggest game of its season coming up just four days down the line from that point. It was easy pickings for sure, though we must admit that we never really thought that beating the Lions was actually going to happen from an SU standpoint.
This time around, the situation is much different. The Panthers are winners of seven in a row, and they know that they have to keep winning, or they will get left out of the playoffs. Even going 11-5 isn’t a guarantee to get into the show for Carolina, knowing that at least one of the four of the 9-2 New Orleans Saints, the 8-3 Panthers, the 7-4 San Francisco 49ers, and the 7-4 Arizona Cardinals is certain to be left out of the second season.
The facts haven’t changed for Tampa Bay, though. RB Bobby Rainey is still the best rushing option that the team has right now, and that reared its ugly head last week when he had just 18 carries for 35 yards. The Bucs as a team only had 22 yards on 24 carries, though a lot of that was thanks to some bumbling around in the pocket by QB Mike Glennon.
Glennon saved the day, going 14-of-21 for 247 yards and two TDs. However, the only pass he made of tremendous note was the 85-yard touchdown to WR Tiquan Underwood. If that’s all that is successfully going to happen for the Bucs offensively, they’re in a whole heck of a lot of trouble. QB Cam Newton isn’t chumping up four picks like QB Matthew Stafford did.
On the injury front, the Buccaneers are adding to their woes with DB Darrelle Revis nursing a groin injury and LB Mason Foster dealing with shoulder problems. DB Dashon Goldson is eligible to come back from his suspension this week though, which should help a bit. Still, this isn’t a great defense as it is, and if Revis Island isn’t out there, there is a good chance that WR Steve Smith is going to end up running wild.
There isn’t much to say about Carolina that we don’t like right now. Newton’s numbers are down, but the team is getting good contributions from Smith, TE Greg Olsen, WR Brandon LaFell, and WR Ted Ginn Jr., each of which will have at least 600 yards on the season when it’s all said and done with. RB DeAngelo Williams hasn’t done much of late, but RB Jonathan Stewart is back and has added 150 total yards of offense in his four games since returning from his ankle injury.
The defense though, is where all the difference in the world has been made. LB Thomas Davis has four sacks and leads the team in tackles, LB Luke Kuechly is being schemed for, as he is a run-stopping machine, DE Greg Hardy has six sacks, and DE Charles Johnson has 8.5 sacks. The end result is that this team ranks seventh in the NFL against the pass, third against the rush, third in total defense, and first in scoring defense. Those are pretty darn good marks, and the end result has seen no one score more than 24 points against this unit all season long.
The Buccaneers just had no answers for what Carolina brought to the table last month when these two teams met. Newton threw for 221 yards and two TDs, and he added another on the ground, and the offense only managed to rack up 297 total yards of offense, many of which came in garbage time. Glennon was forced to put the pill in the air 51 times in the game, and the fact that he only threw for 275 yards on all those pass attempts was certainly something worth talking about. There was no running game, and there isn’t going to be a running game in this one either. It’s all going to be on Glennon’s back.
And then there’s the other bottom line here: Tampa Bay is playing in its second straight road game, and it is doing so in division play. Unless the Panthers get caught napping with their two games coming up against the New Orleans Saints in the next three weeks, there is no reason why they shouldn’t comfortably win this game by double digits. The Buccaneers are due for a big drop back to earth, and we think this is the week where they end up taking that fall once and for all to put Head Coach Greg Schiano back on a very hot seat once again.
Week 13 NFL Pick of the Week: Carolina Panthers -8
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.