Week 1 the Panthers put up a good fight against the NY Giants in the Giants home opener at their new stadium. The Panthers not only lost to the Giants 31-18 but also QB Matt Moore left the game with a concussion late in the game. In relief came rookie Jimmy Clausen, who finished 14 0f 33, 182 yards, 1 TD, 3 INT and sacked 4 times. Moore practiced on Thursday and Coach John Fox stated that Moore will start on Sunday. As for the Bucs, they come into Bank of America Stadium with a surprising 1-0 record after a come from behind win against Cleveland. Tampa Bay did not get win last season until November.
Usually, the Panthers running game is extremely reliable, but against the Giants, DeAngelo Williams rushed 16 times for 62 yards while Jonathan Stewart rushed 5 times for 12 yards. The Panthers have won the last 3 meetings against the Bucs behind the running game. In those 3 contests, the Panthers have rushed for 241 yards per game. The Bucs defense looked sharper last week holding the Browns scoreless in the second half.
So after week 1, Moore is back in the saddle and the backfield goes against a team that they have had success on. Its only week 2, but this is as close to a must win for the Panthers as you get. The running game has to show up as expected and the preseason defensive pass rush needs to come to play. The D Line had 19 preseason sacks, then 0 against the Giants. These two teams are the youngest in the NFL. Panthers are the youngest team while the Bucs run a close second. For the Bucs, second year quarterback Josh Freeman had a horrific game last season against the Panthers, throwing 5 interceptions on a day when the team racked up 469 yards in a 16-6 loss. The team has announced that the game is sold out, so the fans are ready for some football. Will the real Panthers show up? I think so. Panthers 21, Bucs 10.
About the Author
Written by Chris Jones
Resident of Charlotte, NC and avid sports fan from little league to professional to extreme. Bachelors degree in broadcasting with a minor in physical education. Associated with sports most of professional career by freelancing in college then moving on to work for ESPN and ABC Sports for 17 years. When not attending, watching or playing sports, spare time spent as a basketball referee in North Carolina.