Cam Newton will miss Monday night’s game due to a concussion, but that doesn’t mean the Buccaneers are sitting any prettier.
It’s been a rough season so far. After a week one domination over the Falcons, the Buccaneers have lost three straight and have been infected with a brutal injury bug. The losses of Doug Martin and Luke Stocker have crippled the run game, causing Jameis Winston to try and do too much resulting in a massive turnover problem. The losses of Gerald McCoy, Robert Ayers, Clinton McDonald and Noah Spence are painful to the defensive line, who just started to put that pass rush together.
So Cam not playing Monday should help, right? Not so fast…
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Derek Anderson is 20-25 as a starter in the NFL, 2-0 when starting for the Panthers. Those two victories? Against the Buccaneers in 2014. In fact, teams that Anderson is on are 5-2 against the Bucs. Anderson is 75/125 for 864 yards and four touchdowns against Tampa Bay – and that was before he had weapons like Kelvin Benjamin, Gerg Olsen, Ted Ginn, and Devin Funchess.
This is not going to be a walk in the park for a defense allowing 258 yards per game through the air, a secondary that has zero talent at safety, and the mismatches Carolina’s speed creates. Neither team has a running game and both defenses are solid in run defense, so this game comes down to the quarterbacks and playmakers in the passing game.
The Panthers always find a way to beat the Bucs, holding a 20-11 overall record against Tampa Bay and a current win streak of six games. The Panthers also had a streak of five consecutive victories over the Bucs, while the Bucs’ longest win streak is three. Make no mistake about it, Monday night’s game in Charlotte is a must win for both teams. They both sit at 1-3, while Tampa is 1-0 in the division, Carolina is 0-1. We saw what happened when the Bucs faced a Cardinals team with their backs against the wall, this game has that same feel.
Neither can afford to lose as it could send the losing team into a season long tail spin to a top five draft pick. The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for the Buccaneers, but they can’t sit at that bye a 1-4 football team. Otherwise, we’re already talking about next season again in October.
Click below to listen to my latest appearance on The PewterCast, where Brent Allen and I discuss the Broncos, the injuries to the Bucs, and preview the Panthers game!