Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Carolina Panthers: By the numbers, what they're saying

Published Sept. 8, 2012

Bucs vs. Panthers

4:25 p.m., Raymond James Stadium, Tampa

Radio: 620-AM, 103.5-FM

Line/over-under: Panthers by 21/2; 47

Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Week 6 Week 7 Week 8 Week 9 Week 10 Week 11 Week 12 Week 13 Week 14 Week 15 Week 16 Week 17

4:25 today
at Giants

1 p.m. Sept. 16, Ch. 13
at Cowboys

1 p.m. Sept. 23, Ch. 13

4:25 p.m. Sept. 30, Ch. 13 *

1 p.m. Oct. 14, Ch. 10 *

1 p.m. Oct. 21, Ch. 13 *
at Vikings

8:20 p.m. Oct. 25, NFL, TBA
at Raiders

4 p.m. Nov. 4, Ch. 13

1 p.m. Nov. 11, Ch. 10 *
at Panthers

1 p.m. Nov. 18, Ch. 13

1 p.m. Nov. 25, Ch. 13 *
at Broncos

4 p.m. Dec. 2, Ch. 13

1 p.m. Dec. 9, Ch. 13 *
at Saints

1 p.m. Dec. 16, Ch. 13

1 p.m. Dec. 23, Ch. 13 *
at Falcons

1 p.m. Dec. 30, Ch. 13

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By the numbers

9-14 Bucs' record against the Panthers

4-7 Bucs' record at home against the Panthers

15 Consecutive field goals made by the Bucs' Connor Barth, one shy of the team record of Martin Gramatica (2000) and Michael Husted (1995-96)

143 Fourth-quarter points allowed by the Panthers last season, most in the NFL

1,458 Rushing yards for the Bucs last season, third fewest in the NFL

The picks

The Bucs could be the surprise team of 2012 — if Josh Freeman plays in 2012 the way Cam Newton played in 2011. He's capable of being the throwing man Newton was — if not the running one — but I'm going to have to see it first to believe it. I say Newton kicks off this season the way he did last year: with a powerful passing game against a retooling Tampa Bay defense. Panthers, 30-13

Peter King Sports Illustrated

The key for the Bucs will be whether Josh Freeman makes strides going forward and whether their defense can slow down Cam Newton here. I don't think it can. Newton and the Panthers win a big road division game. Panthers, 31-17

Pete Prisco

What they're saying

Even with Jonathan Stewart iffy because of a preseason ankle injury, the Panthers will be able to gash a defense they ran all over last year. Carolina amassed 433 yards on the ground in 38-19 and 48-16 wins over the Bucs last season. Greg Schiano may not have enough talent to fix this unit immediately. If Stewart can't contribute, new addition Mike Tolbert can help in both the running and passing games. Cam Newton ran for 119 yards on 20 carries last season against the Bucs.

Andrew Perloff Sports Illustrated

The Bucs had the most impressive offseason by signing WR Vincent Jackson, G Carl Nicks and CB Eric Wright, but we saw with the Eagles last season that there has to be an acclimation period. Doug Martin has the potential to be special, but Josh Freeman needs to be the Josh Freeman of 2010 for this team to keep pace with the Falcons and Saints. I just don't see it this year.

Brian Billick Fox Sports