Sunday, September 23, 2018
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Carolina Panthers-Tampa Bay Buccaneers predictions by the Times Sports staff

The Tampa Bay Times Bucs coverage team makes its picks for the Bucs-Panthers Monday night game in Charlotte, N.C.

Rick Stroud

@NFLStroud

Carolina 24-20

Bucs will play better against an embattled Carolina defense but still doesn't have the firepower to keep up with Cam Newton or Derek Anderson. The Bucs may struggle against WR Kelvin Benjamin.

Tom Jones

@tomwjones

Carolina 28-14

Doesn't matter who is playing QB for the Panthers. Carolina owns the Bucs, which haven't beaten the Panthers since 2012. Carolina's defense doesn't have Josh Norman or his swagger anymore, but it might be tough for the Bucs to score enough points without Doug Martin and with Jameis Winston turning over the ball so much.

Thomas Bassinger

@tometrics

Carolina 20-17

This game has been as a billed as a game against the defending NFC champions. The Panthers, however, are nowhere near the team that went 15-1 last season. Josh Norman is gone, and the secondary has been revamped. Cam Newton and Jonathan Stewart, who accounted for 71 percent of Carolina's rushing attack last season, have been banged up. If both of them miss Monday night's game, the Bucs stand a reasonable chance. It'll come down to whichever one of these turnover-prone teams takes better care of the football.

Ernest Hooper

@hoop4you

Carolina 19-14

I really want to pick the Bucs, but there are too many question marks. Tampa Bay would need a full complement of players —- including Gerald McCoy and Doug Martin -- to pull off this upset. Without them, Derek Anderson can sub for Cam Newton and produce the victory.

Martin Fennelly

@mjfennelly

Panthers 30-20

Even if Jameis Winston and the Bucs straighten out the offense, this will be a tough one, whether or not Cam Newton is in there or not. Newton's back-up, Derek Anderson, has beaten the Bucs a few times. Who hasn't? Panthers are 1-3, desperate, at home, and heard grief all week about Matt Ryan throwing for 500 yards.

Greg Auman

@gregauman

Tampa Bay 24-21

So much can change: is Cam Newton playing? Can backup Derek Anderson, winless against everyone else in the NFL since 2010, beat the Bucs for a third time since 2014? Both sides understand the importance of avoiding 1-4, but the Bucs, heading into a bye week, might have more urgency. Win the turnover battle here, you can pull off a high-profile upset win.

Comments
Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide to Steelers-Buccaneers: Where is Ronald Jones?

Sound-Smarter-Than-Your-Friends Guide to Steelers-Buccaneers: Where is Ronald Jones?

One of the dominant storylines heading into Monday Night Football between the first-place Buccaneers and the last-place Steelers will be the things we didn’t expect to see. It’s the team that usually melts down against the team that actua...
Updated: 3 hours ago
McFarland on FitzMagic: ‘Play the guy with the hot hand’

McFarland on FitzMagic: ‘Play the guy with the hot hand’

TAMPA — Why wait until Monday Night Football? We got former Bucs defensive tackle Booger McFarland, the field analyst for the ESPN crew, to break down the Bucs-Steelers matchup. In his straight-forward, brutally honest style, McFarland dissects...
Updated: 4 hours ago
How Booger McFarland rose from a Tampa FM station to ‘Monday Night Football’

How Booger McFarland rose from a Tampa FM station to ‘Monday Night Football’

TAMPA — When Booger McFarland auditioned for the new Monday Night Football broadcast team, producer Jay Rothman was blown away."I closed my eyes and said, 'Holy (bleep), I feel like I'm listening to football's Charles Barkley,'' Rothman said.Si...
Published: 09/22/18
Bucs have to be ‘reasonable,’ about their plan to play defensive tackle Vita Vea

Bucs have to be ‘reasonable,’ about their plan to play defensive tackle Vita Vea

Defensive tackle Vita Vea made it through practice this week, his first since straining his left calf muscle July 29. But coach Dirk Koetter was pretty non-committal about how much, or if, Vea will play Monday night against the Steelers."When you've ...
Published: 09/22/18

How Tampa Bay is savoring its FitzMagic carpet ride

TAMPA — Bucs fan Dallas Collins has it all planned out.On Monday night, he and his family are going to whip up an Irish Boiled Dinner. You know, corned beef, carrots, potatoes, cabbage and onions.Then they're going to sit down and watch the Buc...
Published: 09/22/18
Bucs PK Chandler Catanzaro insists he’s curse-free

Bucs PK Chandler Catanzaro insists he’s curse-free

TAMPA — When placekicker Chandler Catanzaro missed a 44-yard field goal in the fourth quarter at New Orleans and a point-after attempt last week against the Eagles, he left the door open for a possible comeback by the Saints and Eagles.The Bucs...
Published: 09/21/18
Ryan Fitzpatrick said his only goal was to go 3-0 while Jameis Winston was suspended

Ryan Fitzpatrick said his only goal was to go 3-0 while Jameis Winston was suspended

TAMPA — Shortly after he learned he would be starting the first three games this season, Ryan Fitzpatrick saw the opportunity to do something few thought would be possible.No, not take Jameis Winston's job.The Bucs starting quarterback was susp...
Published: 09/21/18
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Mailbag: Bucs-Steelers, Vita Vea, Rays’ playoff chances, more

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Mailbag: Bucs-Steelers, Vita Vea, Rays’ playoff chances, more

It's our mailbag episode, with questions about how many games the Bucs can win this season, the reason for their offensive explosion and what we can expect from Vita Vea this week against the Steelers.Plus, what moves should the Rays make this offsea...
Published: 09/21/18
FitzMagic is everywhere, even in Cleveland

FitzMagic is everywhere, even in Cleveland

It feels like there's FitzMagic in the air everywhere these days, even in Cleveland.When Baker Mayfield came off the bench Thursday night to lead the Browns to a 21-17 win over the Jets — Cleveland's first victory in 635 days — he became ...
Published: 09/21/18
Bucs DT Vita Vea, CB Brent Grimes return to practice, could play vs. Steelers

Bucs DT Vita Vea, CB Brent Grimes return to practice, could play vs. Steelers

TAMPA — For the first time in seven weeks, Vita Vea played football Thursday.At least it looked like the rookie defensive tackle was playing football when he walked to the Bucs' practice field wearing a helmet and full pads and took a three-poi...
Published: 09/20/18