Pewter Plank Preview: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers
By Nick John
Aug 16, 2014; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Gerald McCoy (93) runs onto the field during introductions before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports
It has finally arrived!
Week One of the NFL season is here, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin the year at home, defending their ship against the reigning NFC South champion Carolina Panthers.
It should be an interesting matchup, as it is expected that both defenses will have the upper hand.
Which one will have the better game?
Will Cam Newton put on his Superman suit? Or will backup quarterback Derek Anderson take the field for the Carolina blue?
How will the Buccaneer offensive line play with the newly-acquired Logan Mankins?
Let’s take a look at how things will shake out.
WHAT THE “EXPERTS” THINK:
Both David Newton and Pat Yasinksas of ESPN.com believe that the Panthers will come out on top in a defensive affair. Newton brought up the weak offensive line for Tampa Bay and the inconsistencies of Josh McCown as his points of reasoning. Yasinksas went the same route, claiming that there were too many changes up front for the Bucs to deal with Carolina’s front seven.
ESPN.com’s David Newton: Panthers 17, Buccaneers 9.
ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinksas: Panthers 17, Buccaneers 14.
WHAT THE ENEMY THINKS:
Yesterday, I posted a column that featured CatCrave.com editor Bryan Palmese. In that column, he told us what he thought about today’s match up and gave his prediction.
"I think it will take a few games for Tampa to get acclimated to the new coaching staff and build a confidence in its’ roster. I’m intrigued to see how effective Doug Martin is coming off of his injury, but the same can be said for Cam Newton. Again, I think defense reigns true for four quarters and the game is decided by less than a touchdown. Carolina and Tampa will play conservative games early on and look to take a few chances when the opportunity arises. I see Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson having big games for the Panthers, and Vincent Jackson stepping up for the Bucs. I am also looking forward to episode one of the Mike Evans vs. Kelvin Benjamin show to see which receiver-in-a-tight-end’s-body is more impressive. When the clock strikes all zeroes, I believe Carolina sneaks out of Raymond James with a 17-13 win and a much needed early season divisional win."
CatCrave.com Editor Bryan Palmese: Panthers 17, Buccaneers 13.
Oct 24, 2013; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers outside linebacker Lavonte David (54) sacks Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) during the first quarter at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
WHAT I THINK:
While I agree with my colleagues about this being a defensive game, I don’t agree with their results. I think the Buccaneers come out with an opening day win, and here is why: Carolina’s offense doesn’t have the weapons to match ours.
The Panthers are depending on Jerricho Cotchery and rookie Kelvin Benjamin to get the job done against Alterraun Verner, Johnthan Banks and company. They won’t have the luxury of a healthy Cam Newton, whether or not he ends up playing. If he does play, he won’t be the same quarterback. Rib injuries have a way of crippling an athlete if he attempts to play while he’s hurt. If Derek Anderson plays, then we’ll be up against a blatantly-average quarterback performance, which should be nothing that our front seven can’t handle.
Tampa Bay should put up just enough offense to come out on top. I think this season could be Doug Martin’s coming out party as a full-fledged superstar running back, and he’ll be asked to set the tone for the Buccaneers today. I say he has a big day, the Bucs win the turnover battle, and go on to win the game.
My Predicition: Buccaneers 17, Panthers 13.