Tampa Bay invades Panthers country Sunday afternoon at 1:00 PM Eastern Standard Time, hoping not for a win, but at least their dignity.
Before we get down to the business and talk about this Sunday's “Battle of the Century”, featuring the Mighty Tampa Bay Buccaneers visiting the Elite Carolina Panthers, we have to take a timeout, and give credit where credit it due.
Linebacker Calvin Pace, you are the recipient of the “Thank You For Putting Jake Delhomme Out of His Misery Along with Thousands of Carolina Panther Fans” Award! Wait, who am I kidding, I meant dozens of Carolina Panther fans, sorry about that.
Last week on a Jake Delhomme pass, yes you guessed it, it was in fact an interception, Delhomme managed to bang hands with Calvin Pace, breaking a finger on his right hand and hopefully, I mean, possibly ending his Season.
Oh yeah, here ya go kids! Here's some random stats related to the game. I know how you kids love your stats! Enjoy!
Tampa Bay Bucs
Coach Fox hasn't come out and said yet if this will keep him out, but word out of the Panthers Organization is that young backup Matt Moore will be starting against Tampa Bay.
If so, this would be young Moore's first start in almost two years. Interestingly enough his last start came in a Carolina 32-23 win against Tampa Bay, December 30th, 2007. Matty Moore actually had a decent game that day, completing 15-24 passes and 174 yards with 2 TD”s and a pick. Not bad young Skywalker, not bad.
Now, hopefully Matt Moore has been preparing for his opportunity by not paying attention to what Jake Delhomme does on the field, if so, he should have a Pro Bowl type outing!
In all seriousness, Coach Fox's game plan for this one should be simple, run the ball, and run it alot. In Carolina's last two games against Tampa Bay the Panthers have run for a eye popping 566 yards and 7 scores!
Thats embarrassing for Tampa's defense.
As you can see in the above table, that trend should continue on Sunday. Tampa is 30th against the run, giving up almost 5 yards per carry. With Coach Fox trotting out his young Quarterback out there with so little experience, it would be wise to protect him with a steady rushing attack, and make Matt Moore nothing more than a Game Manager.
Tampa Bay has a young Quarterback of their own, Rookie Josh Freeman, who will be starting his 5th straight game. Freeman has managed only one win so far this season, but, has played well at times, and has shown promise.
Freeman has shown the ability to move around well in the pocket and avoid the rush while continuing to look downfield at his receivers, the mark of a much more experienced Quarterback. The Bucs have to be pleased with his growth so far.
In his 4 starts he's thrown for 793 yards, 7 TD's and 5 Interceptions, but completing just over 55% of his passes.
Sunday should be Freeman's toughest test to date, despite Carolina's struggles, they do have the 3rd best Pass defense in the NFL, giving up only 181 yards passing per game, and have allowed 12 passing Touchdowns all season, conversely, Tampa Bay has allowed 24 passing Touchdowns.
Basically what I'm saying is the Panthers are good against the pass, and should fully take advantage of playing against a rookie Signal Caller on Sunday. Expect to see the Panthers force some turnovers and look to score quickly off them.
Carolina will control time of possession with the ground game and should win this game easily, causing everyone to wonder how in the world this team has only won 4 games all year.
Coach John Fox is a horrible coach, thats why by the way.
Prediction Carolina 31 Tampa Bay 17
About the Author
Written by Danny Shapiro
Danny Shapiro is 26 years old, married and a father to 2 boys, who he hopes one day to play MLB and support him and his wife in their old age. Danny's second love, mistress even, is sports and Danny is living his dream of being a sports writer right now, thanks to Prosportsblogging.com.