Carolina Panthers @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers preview

Steve Ovenden (@happyhappysteve) believes the crowd in London will get a good game in this tight clash between the Buccaneers and Panthers

Week s brings us to London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for our second International Series game as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) host their NFC South Divisional rivals the Carolina Panthers (3-2).  The first game in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last week saw the Oakland Raiders overcome the Chicago Bears 24-21 in a thrilling match-up.

Last week we saw the Carolina Panthers complete the turn around of their season with a 34-27 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. This win took the Panthers onto a three game winning streak which means they are now sitting at 3-2  after starting the season 0-2 with one of those losses coming at home to the Bucs. Tampa however, went in the opposite direction last week after a road loss of 31-24 to another divisional rival the New Orlean Saints and they now see themselves with a 2-3 record.  The Bucs will want to take advantage of the enthusiastic London crowd to give themselves a boost to try and complete a season double over Carolina.

Both sides this week are finding preparation for Sundays game a little difficult as training is seeing numerous players limited or not participating because of injury.  It has already been reported that Panthers quarterback Cam Newton did not travel because of his foot injury but perhaps more worryingly, Christian McCaffrey missed mid week practice due to a back injury.  McCaffrey was highly influential in Carolina’s victory over the Jags by recording 176 yards and two touchdowns on the ground and six receptions for 61 yards and a third touchdown on the day. His absence would be a big miss for the Panthers and the British audience should he not play.  Stand-in quarterback Kyle Allen would also be missing out. The improving Allen has started the last three games for the Panthers and they have won all three. The QB really has changed the Carolina offence and he himself has 60/90 for 674 yards over the three games.  He will be hoping to top up these stats if all his weapons are available on Sunday.

Tampa have also had their fair share of players not practising so far this week.  One notable absentee would be defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh. He has been missing practice due to a knee problem but doesn’t mean he will miss the game on Sunday.  He will be key if the Panthers have all their offence available. Bruce Arians has said this week that all injuries are minor apart from Guard Alex Coppa who is out with a broken arm.  Jaimis Winston has been making steady progress over the course of the season so far and could provide some inspiration for the Bucs. His 102 completions from 160 attempts for 1371 yards puts him in good stead to put on a show with some big plays. 

This game could be a tight affair.  A divisional game which is essentially being played on a neutral field in a different country with both teams needing a win to stay in touch with the Saints who are sitting atop the division with a 4-1 season so far.  Both teams have improving QB’s and talent on the offensive side of the ball. It could actually be the defences that have a big say on the fate of this game. Carolina boast the NFL’s third ranked pass defence and the Bucs have allowed  the second fewest rushing yards per game. The London crowd shouldn’t be disappointed with this one.

Last Time They Met

12/9/2019 – Tampa Bay Buccaneers 20 @ 14 Carolina Panthers

Ones to Watch read more

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Jacksonville Jaguars @ Carolina Panthers preview

Dave Gray (@djg23) believes this one is almost too close to call and could come down to which of the star running backs performs best

This one sees a battle of two young backup quarterbacks that some would argue are outperforming their more experienced and certainly higher paid number ones.

Gardner Minshew, a sixth round rookie, has been something of a revelation since taking over from the injured Nick Foles. He led a big comeback in their last game against the Broncos and there is already talk about whether Foles will ever get the job back that he held for less than a quarter.

Kyle Allen has also been impressive since taking over from Cam Newton. He is completing over 70% of his passes and is yet to throw an interception this season. It is making things a lot easier for the Panthers to hold Newton out until he is fully fit.

The pair of quarterbacks are arguably getting their toughest tests yet against two very good defences. This one may come down to which of them can handle the likes of Luke Kuechly, Brian Burns, Calais Campbell and Josh Allen breathing down their necks.

This game also sees a battle of two players leading the way in the race for the rushing title. Christian McCaffrey is leading the way on 411 yards – he has another 218 through the air – with Dalvin Cook the only man separating him from Leonard Fournette in 404 yards. This game could well come down to which of these two can get going on the ground.

Ones to Watch

Panthers: Christian McCaffrey – He is the Panthers offence right now. Everything runs through him and he may be the most important non-quarterback in the league right now

Jaguars: Leonard Fournette – he had an incredible 225 yards against the Broncos and will need another big performance here

Score Prediction

Jaguars 21 Panthers 22

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Week three NFL power rankings – The AFC is dominant

32 New York Jets

Just a terrible, terrible team. They are not hiding their desire to get the number one pick. It is hard to see where they even get a win from.

31 Cincinnati Bengals

There is a lot of talented players on the team but the offence is just awful. The offensive line is where all the issues start. They had a below average line last season and then let their best two linemen walk away. It’s going to be a long season in Cincinnati.

30 Indianapolis Colts

I think the start to the season proves just how good Andrew Luck is. He could drag this dumpster fire of a roster to eight wins. Without him they may well be the worst team in the league. Chuck Pagano should have been fired a couple of season ago. It just feels inevitable now.

29 Chicago Bears

They showed some promise in week one but that all went away when they travelled to Tampa Bay. It is hard to see Mike Glennon keeping his job too much longer – the same goes for head coach John Fox.

28 Cleveland Browns

0-2 but heading into three very winnable games against the Colts, Jets and Bengals. They need to win at least two of them. If not, we are looking at the same old Browns. There is some promise but they need to start converting that to wins.

27 San Francisco 49ers

Played the Seahawks close and really could have come away from Seattle with the win. It is going to take at least another season but there is some hope if you are a 49ers fan.

26 Arizona Cardinals

This team looks like a disaster. They got the win – just – against the Colts that may well be the worst team in the league while Andrew Luck is on the sidelines. It is sad to say but Carson Palmer is done. The Cardinals do not really have any other options but do not expect Palmer to be playing this time next year.

25 Buffalo Bills

This almost feels a little high. The Bills are not a good team. They traded away some of their best players in the offseason and if it wasn’t for the Jets, many people would have spoken about the Bills tanking. They look like they are starting a big rebuild, and the performances on the field show that.

24 New York Giants

The offence is just awful. Eli Manning can’t seem to get the ball down the field and the running game is non-existent. The offence appears to be Odell Beckham only, and he is struggling with injury. The defence will win them some games, but they look a longshot to make the playoffs, even this early in the season.

23 Los Angeles Rams

There is some promising signs for the Rams. The defence can be very, very good. Wade Phillips is a genius and he could make this a formidable unit. The offence is still where the worries are, even after putting up huge numbers in week one. Sean McVay is one of the brightest young coaches, and the team are in good hands, but it could be a couple of years before we really see the Rams challenge again.

22 Jacksonville Jaguars read more

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Carolina Panthers fan preview: Bounceback season for Cam?

This is the first of our season previews. Plenty of places have got you covered for a breakdown of the roster or team’s chances so we want to do something a little different.

We are going to have a fan from each of the 32 teams take a look at their team’s chances.

First up is Oli who is going to take a look at the Carolina Panthers.

How long have you been watching the NFL?

I had been watching on and off since ’09 and never supported anyone so usually about halfway through the season I’d lose interest. The late nights just weren’t really worth it when I didn’t support anyone!

How did you become a fan of the Panthers?

Realising that not supporting anyone was limiting my enjoyment I made a decision at the start of the 2015 season to pick a team by whatever method necessary. So I sat in front of RedZone for 7 hours in week one and saw nothing that got me interested in any team. I also didn’t want to do anything obvious like picking the Patriots, because that’s as bad as someone just picking Man United. So I tried again in week 2, Cam Newton somersaults into the end zone and Scott Hanson lost his mind. So did I. Cam was the man for me and from that moment I was a Panther.

Who was the biggest loss for your team in the offseason?

Dave Gettleman (GM) for sure. It’s not that he was doing such an incredible job or even a terrible job, it was just the pure shock of it so close to the season. Especially with Davis and Olsen’s contracts up in the air and having just been through a draft where presumably Gettleman was making the picks alongside Ron. Very odd timing and you could see the split in the locker room on social media by what players past and present thought of the decision. Hopefully not used as an excuse for the season ahead.

Who was the best addition?

Well I’m not really into College Football (too many late nights to follow that too) but McCaffrey is such an exciting prospect based on what I’ve read and seen from training camp. Mike Shula’s (OC) play calling last season became so predictable (run it, read option, long shot down field, repeat) so to get some versatility in the draft was key. With McCaffrey and Samuel who can line up as WR’s and RB’s we now have genuine versatility. Add that to the nailed on 1,000 yards from Olsen and we’ve got a very exciting offense

Assuming no major injuries, what is the floor and what is the ceiling for your team this year? read more

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Week 7 Power Rankings: Patriots back to number one.

The New England Patriots have looked dominant since Tom Brady has returned to the roster and that has shown in the power rankings.

The biggest movers are the Buffalo Bills who move into the top 10 for the first time this season.

The New York Jets and Carolina Panthers have plummeted down the rankings as their seasons look all but dead.

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