1:00 pm
December 2

Panthers @ Buccaneers

Who will WIN this matchup?

Carolina Panthers (6-5)

@ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4-7)


Current odds:

Carolina Panthers: (-180)

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: (+160)


•  The line for this game is Carolina by 3.5 points.

• It was less than a month ago that the Carolina Panthers harbored hopes of overtaking the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South, owning a 6-2 record and riding a three-game winning streak. Things have since taken a dramatic turn for Carolina, which is trying to climb back into the playoff race entering Sunday’s game at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will mark a rematch of a Nov. 4 clash between the division rivals, when the Panthers rolled to a 42-28 victory for their third win of the row, but they proceeded to drop their next three to dim their playoff chances.

• Tampa Bay ended a four-game slide behind its finest defensive performance of the season in a 27-9 victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week. Ryan Fitzpatrick threw for four touchdowns in the loss to the Panthers, but Jameis Winston will make his second straight start for the Buccaneers.

• Cam Newton had six touchdowns passes and zero interceptions during the three-game winning streak but has been picked off in each of the past three losses and had only 12 rushing attempts during the skid. Running back Christian McCaffrey had a monster game in last week’s 30-27 loss to Seattle, amassing a franchise record 237 yards from scrimmage to go with two touchdowns, and also piled up 157 yards and two scores in the win over Tampa Bay last month. Rookie wide receiver DJ Moore has bolstered the passing game with 15 catches for 256 yards and a score in the past two games. Carolina’s defense has allowed an average of 34 points in the past three.

• Winston, who replaced Fitzpatrick earlier in the season only to be benched after his third start, threw for 312 yards with a pair of touchdowns and zero interceptions against the 49ers. “Jameis made good decisions with the football,” Tampa Bay coach Dirk Koetter said. “Played a clean game. We had a good result.” Wide receiver Mike Evans was held to one catch for 10 yards in the first meeting but has back-to-back 100-yard games. The Buccaneers, who have surrendered at least 30 points seven times, could receive a lift on defense with the potential return to the lineup of linebacker Lavonte David after a two-game absence due to a sprained MCL.

• Carolina has won the past three meetings against Tampa Bay.

• Buccaneers DE Jason Pierre-Paul has five sacks and a forced fumble in his last five home games.
• Newton has thrown for 1,429 yards with 12 TDs and four interceptions in his last five road games.

StreakSmarter Pick
Carolina Panthers