Week Eight Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Bucs
Vegas Spread: Bucs (-2.5)
In the very first divisional matchup of the season Tampa takes on Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have been a roller coaster of a team the past two seasons. Going from 15-1 and the Superbowl to 6-10 and last in the NFC South is not the best look. Cam Newton had the worst completion percentage of starting quarterbacks in the league in 2016. They have added weapons for Cam in Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel but they did not help the secondary and lost Kony Ealy. Corn Elder was drafted but he’s not going to shut down Mike Evans or even DeSean Jackson any time soon.
The Bucs beat the Panthers in the final game at home last season by one point and that game didn’t mean a lot overall for either team in the long run. The Panthers were already out of the playoffs and the Bucs needed the win and a lot to happen to save their playoff hopes. As we all know, it didn’t work out.
Both teams added pieces but division games are always played close. McCaffrey was a weapon that some thought the Bucs might add, but they waited until later to add Jeremy McNichols. Can the Panthers rebound to what the team was two seasons ago, or are they stuck in a rebuilding phase that continues this week against the Bucs? The Bucs should edge out a close one here.