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Bucs-Panthers: Analysis

MCT

MCT

The Bucs, as coach Greg Schiano said, are "desperate" for a win. But it won't be easy with Pro Bowl RB Doug Martin out with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. The Panthers have won two straight with QB Cam Newton, who has come into his own, and a defense that ranks among the best in the league.

Panthers' top offensive player

QB Cam Newton, right, is at the top of his game in his third season in consistency and efficiency. An exciting athlete, Newton has developed into a "pure NFL pocket passer," Bucs defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan said. Newton has completed 63.5 percent of his passes with five interceptions. "He's starting to become an NFL quarterback," Bucs DT Gerald McCoy said. "And that's scary."

Panthers' top defensive player

Last season, LB Luke Kuechly led the league in tackles (164) and was the defensive rookie of the year. This season, he has 48 tackles and two interceptions. Opponents game plan to take him out of the game. "He's all over the field," Bucs QB Mike Glennon said. "He's instinctive, smart. He just has a knack for the ball."

What the Panthers do best

Play defense. The Panthers are stout all-around, ranked third overall in the league, fourth against the run and fifth against the pass. They are led by a front four that Bucs coach Greg Schiano said can be dominant. DEs Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson each have four sacks.

How you beat the Panthers

Protect QB Mike Glennon. With rookie RB Mike James expected to start, the Panthers aren't likely to stack the box as much as they would against RB Doug Martin. The Bucs offensive line needs a quality performance both in run blocking and pass protecting.

The Bucs must avoid …

Penalties. The Bucs lead the league in yards per game (86) and penalties per game (9.0), something they can ill afford against a tough Panthers defense.

The pick

Panthers 24, Bucs 17

Projected starters

BUCS

offense

WR: Vincent Jackson 83

LT: Donald Penn 70

LG: Jeremy Zuttah 76

C: Ted Larsen 62

RG: Davin Joseph 75

RT: Demar Dotson 69

TE: Tim Wright 81

WR: Mike Williams 19

QB: Mike Glennon 8

RB: Mike James 25

FB: Erik Lorig 41

defense

DE: Daniel Te'o Nesheim 50

DT: Gerald McCoy 93

DT: Akeem Spence 97

DE: Adrian Clayborn 94

SLB: Dekoda Watson 56

MLB: Mason Foster 59

WLB: Lavonte David 54

CB: Darrelle Revis 24

CB: Leonard Johnson 29

SS: Mark Barron 23

FS: Dashon Goldson 38

Special teams

P/KO: Michael Koenen 9

PK: Rian Lindell 4

LS: Andrew Economos 48

KR/PR: Eric Page 17

Panthers

offense

WR: Steve Smith 89

LT: Jordan Gross 69

LG: Travelle Wharton 70

C: Ryan Kalil 67

RG: Chris Scott 75

RT: Byron Bell 77

TE: Greg Olsen 88

WR: Brandon LaFell 11

QB: Cam Newton 1

RB: DeAngelo Williams 34

WR: Ted Ginn 19

defense

DE: Charles Johnson 95

DT: Colin Cole 91

DT: Star Lotulelei 98

DE: Greg Hardy 76

OLB: Thomas Davis 58

MLB: Luke Kuechly 59

OLB: Chase Blackburn 93

CB: Josh Thomas 22

CB: Captain Munneryin 41

SS: Quintin Mikell 27

FS: Mike Mitchell 21

Special teams

P/KO: Brad Nortman 8

PK/KO: Graham Gano 9

LS: J.J. Jansen 44

KR/PR: Ted Ginn 19

Injury report

BUCS Out: RB Jeff Demps (groin), RB Doug Martin (shoulder), G Carl Nicks (foot). Questionable: S Dashon Goldson (knee), WR Chris Owusu (foot), WR Mike Williams (hamstring). Probable: CB Michael Adams (knee), S Mark Barron (hip), DE Da'Quan Bowers (toe), TE Tom Crabtree (ankle), G Davin Joseph (knee), DT Akeem Spence (wrist), S Keith Tandy (concussion).

Panthers — Questionable: DT Dwan Edwards (hamstring). Probable: LB Chase Blackburn (foot), S Colin Jones (undisclosed), WR Brandon LaFell (knee), S Robert Lester (hamstring), TE Greg Olsen (foot), WR Steve Smith (ankle), CB Josh Thomas (illness).

Unit rankings

OFFENSEDEFENSE
RunPassTotalRunPassTotal
Bucs101.2 (20th)196.7 (29th)297.9 (31st)88.8 (5th)252.0 (18th)340.8 (13th)
Panthers130.2 (7th)197.3 (28th)327.5 (23rd)84.5 (4th)217.7 (5th)302.2 (3rd)

Bucs-Panthers: Analysis 10/23/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 11:00pm]
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