Why Buccaneers can’t take Panthers lightly on Sunday

Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers battle the Carolina Panthers with the NFC South essentially on the line. While it may look like a mismatch, the Buccaneers can’t treat it like one.

On paper, the week 17 game between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers looks like it should have the makings of a blowout. After all, the Buccaneers have Tom Brady at quarterback, while the Panthers have Sam Darnold, after a revolving door of quarterbacks. That’s just the tip of the iceberg too as it pertains t the advantages the Bucs should have in this game.

Unfortunately, games aren’t played on paper, a pint that has been made very clear to the Buccaneers so far in the 2022 NFL season. They now find themselves sitting atop the abysmal NFC South division with a record of 7-8, with the Carolina Panthers yipping at their heels in second with a 6-9 record.

It doesn’t take a math wiz to see that if the Buccaneers can take care of business against the Panthers, a team many thought were essentially tanking for quarterback help especially after firing their head coach mid-season and trading away their best player, then they will win the NFC South, and host a playoff game. Should they fall though, the Panthers take control of first place, needing one more win to clinch the division, in what seemed unfathomable coming into the season.

The Buccaneers have far more talent in every aspect of the two rosters, every one. That’s not even to mention the fact that the game will be played in Tampa. However, the Panthers already beat the Buccaneers once, with P.J. Walker at quarterback and interim head coach Steve Wilks coaching his second game with that title. It also was Wilks’ first win as interim coach, because of course it was.

Simply put, the Buccaneers can not afford to take the Panthers lightly despite the perceived mismatch. The reasoning is simple. They did it once before with nothing on the line and look what happened.

Now, everything is on the line for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and another Sunday of sleepwalking will have them potentially missing the playoffs all together, and pretty much sealing Brady’s fate of being done with the franchise. They have to treat this game like the Super Bowl, because for all intents and purposes, it is just that.

Next. How this season already mirrors Brady's last in New England. dark