Buccaneers Predictions: Forecasting the 2017 Second Quarter
Vs Carolina Panthers
Carolina leads the Buccaneers and all other teams in the NFC South division race right now.
Their 4-1 start is a little more than surprising, but hey, what else is new in the South.
An undefeated first three games at home this year have certainly helped, but when they face the Bucs for the first time, it’ll be in Tampa.
The only loss of the year for the Panthers came against the Saints who throttled them 34-13 in Week 3.
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Carolina is another team simply not built to play from behind. When the game is close, or the Panthers are ahead, then they can afford to run more and force opponents to sell out up front which opens up deep passing plays.
When New Orleans beat this team earlier this year, they did so by spreading out the Panthers defense and preventing them from ganging up on ball carriers.
They also put up 17-points in the first half, giving them an 11-point lead heading into the locker room.
Of course, something which has developed in the past couple of weeks is the emergence of receiver Devin Funchess.
In his two years out of Michigan before the 2017 season, Funchess had a combined 54 receptions for 844-yards and nine touchdowns.
This year alone, the former Wolverine has 24 catches (more than he had all of 2016), 269-yards, and three scores.
Safe to say, he’s on pace to have career highs across the board.
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In fact, 14 of his catches, 123-yards, and three touchdown catches have all been in the last two weeks.
Ted Ginn he’s not, but he’s been effective the last two weeks.
The Buccaneers’ secondary has looked much better since their Week 3 debacle in Minnesota. If they can get completely healthy, then Funchess shouldn’t be able to keep his career year going in this one.
Panthers get a tough one against Philly at home next week, then it’s two on the road culminating with this one in Tampa.
It’s a rough three-game span, and I think Tampa takes advantage.