Find out how to watch the Bucs vs. Panthers in Week 2 on Sunday, Sept. 12.
Both the Panthers and Buccaneers are looking for positives on short turnarounds from season-opening losses as the NFC South rivals kick off Week 2 on Thursday night in Charlotte.
The Panthers came up short in a 30-27 home defeat to the reigning NFC champion Los Angeles Rams on Sunday. Christian McCaffrey ran for 128 yards and two touchdowns while totaling 209 yards from scrimmage, but three turnovers—including a critical fourth-quarter interception thrown by Cam Newton—thwarted any chances of Carolina making a successful comeback.
Newton completed 25 of 38 passes for 239 yards, but failed to throw a touchdown pass for a career-worst third consecutive game. In his defense, he played his final two contests in 2018 with a shoulder injury that clearly hampered his ability to throw the ball downfield and led to his season ending after Week 15.
Despite giving up 30 points, the Panthers defense did not play badly. One Rams scoring drive started at the Charlotte 10-yard line after Newton lost a fumble, and an unconventional 3-2-6 alignment flustered the high-octane Los Angeles offense, as Jared Goff threw for only 186 yards and averaged 4.77 yards per attempt. The downside was the Rams running game, as Todd Gurley and Malcom Brown combined for 150 rushing yards, with Gurley averaging 6.9 yards per carry.
That 3-2-6 will not be seen as often against Tampa Bay, who struggled to gain traction in the passing game vs. San Francisco as Jameis Winston was picked off three times and had two of those returned for touchdowns in a 31-17 home loss to the 49ers on Sunday.
The Buccaneers had four turnovers overall in coach Bruce Arians’ debut, and Winston had two touchdown passes negated due to penalties. Winston completed 20 of 34 passes for 194 yards and spread the wealth as eight different players caught at least one pass, but top option Mike Evans was limited to two receptions for 28 yards with Winston looked his way only five times.
Tampa Bay’s defense did well to keep the Bucs in the game, forcing two turnovers of their own, and cornerback Vernon Hargreaves returned an interception 15 yards for a score. The Buccaneers limited the 49ers to 256 total yards and forced them to settle for field goals on all three occasions they got inside the red zone.
Newton has fared well against the Buccaneers in his career, going 9-4. He has led Carolina to four straight home wins over Tampa Bay, which includes 247 yards and a pair of scoring tosses in a 42-28 home win last season. McCaffrey gave the Buccaneers defense fits last year, totaling 318 yards rushing and receiving while hitting paydirt three times.
Winston did not play at Carolina last year due to a sprained A/C joint in his throwing shoulder and is 3-4 lifetime against the Panthers. He did help the Buccaneers to a 24-17 win in the most recent meeting in Week 13 last season, throwing for 249 yards and a pair of touchdowns, while Tampa Bay’s defense picked off Newton four times.
How to Watch Buccaneers vs Carolina Panthers
When: Thursday, Sept. 12
Time: 8:20 p.m. ET
TV: NFL Network
Live Stream: Watch on fuboTV. Try for free with a seven-day trial.