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  1. Sports

Bucs at Panthers: Scouting report

124.7 (11th) 109.1 (15th)

The Bucs beat the Panthers in the season opener in a game that didn't feel as close as the final score, 16-10, indicated. The Bucs have evolved a great deal since, opening up their offensive playbook with downfield throws the Panthers didn't see that day. The Bucs' balanced attack will create problems for Carolina, which hasn't fared well against high-octane offenses.

Panthers' top offensive player

It's still quarterback Cam Newton, right, pouty news conferences and all. While he seems to have work to do in the leadership department, he's still putting up big numbers, including 2,143 passing yards. The blight is his 10 interceptions.

Panthers' top defensive player

Rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly, left, has been a wonderful addition, leading the Panthers with 88 tackles. He has become a consistent playmaker on a defense that was in sore need of one.

What the Panthers do best

They make plenty of big plays, tied for seventh in pass completions of 20 yards or longer with 31. (The Bucs have 32.)

How you beat the Panthers

Defensive success on early downs is key. The Panthers convert just 33.3 percent of their third downs, tied for 25th in the league.

The Bucs must avoid …

An early deficit would allow the Panthers to be judicious in their play-calling. And their ability to run and pass with success will position them for a win.

Projected starters



WR: Vincent Jackson

LT: Donald Penn

LG: Jeremy Zuttah

C: Ted Larsen

RG: Jamon Meredith

RT: Demar Dotson

TE: Dallas Clark

WR: Mike Williams

QB: Josh Freeman

RB: Doug Martin

FB: Erik Lorig


LDE: Michael Bennett

DT: Gerald McCoy

DT: Roy Miller

RDE: Daniel


SLB: Adam Hayward

MLB: Mason Foster

WLB: Lavonte David

CB: E.J. Biggers

CB: Eric Wright

SS: Mark Barron

FS: Ronde Barber

special teams

PR: Roscoe Parrish

KR: LeQuan Lewis

PK: Connor Barth

P/KO: Michael Koenen



WR: Steve Smith

LT: Jordan Gross

LG: Amini Silatolu

C: Geoff Hangartner

RG: Jeff Byers

RT: Byron Bell

TE: Greg Olsen

WR: Brandon LaFell

QB: Cam Newton

RB: Jonathan Stewart

FB: Mike Tolbert


LDE: Frank Alexander

DT: Dwan Edwards

DT: Ron Edwards

RDE: Charles Johnson

SLB: James Anderson

MLB: Luke Kuechly

WLB: Thomas Davis

CB: Captain Munnerlyn

CB: Josh Norman

SS: Charles Godfrey

FS: Haruki Nakamura

special teams

PR: Captain Munnerlyn

KR: Armanti Edwards

PK/KO: Justin Medlock

P: Brad Nortman

Prediction Bucs 28, Panthers 24

Stat pack

1 p.m., Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C. | TV/radio: Ch. 13; 620-AM, 103.5-FM | Line, O/U: Bucs by 1, 48

Rushing yards

passing yards

total yards

Rushing yards allowed

passing yards allowed

total yards allowed



80.1 (1st) 113.0 (16th)

240.9 (15th) 225.2 (17th)

321.3 (32nd) 231.9 (16th)

365.6 (t12th) 334.3 (23rd)

401.4 (31st) 344.9 (16th)

Injury report

BUCS — Questionable: T Jamon Meredith (ankle). Probable: WR Arrelious Benn (shoulder), DE Michael Bennett (shoulder), S Cody Grimm (hamstring), CB Eric Wright (Achilles), C Jeremy Zuttah (shoulder).

Panthers — Out: DE Antwan Applewhite (hamstring). Probable: LB Thomas Davis (not injury related), WR Armanti Edwards (groin), DT Ron Edwards (not injury related), T Jordan Gross (not injury related), C Geoff Hangartner (knee), G Amini Silatolu (shoulder), WR Steve Smith (not injury related).