The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are coming off an absolute beatdown at the hands of the New Orleans Saints, who dominated them on their own field by a 38-3 score. Legendary QB Tom Brady hit an all-time low by throwing three interceptions and had a career-low QBR of 3.8.
This was a totally unexpected outcome, especially in an all important game as both teams continue to jostle for first place in the NFC South. New Orleans just came out and flat out whipped their tails in all three phases of the game and Tampa Bay had no answer whatsoever. This puts the Bucs in a tough spot as they were swept by the Saints in the season series, so every game from here on out is going to be crucial for them if they hope to sit atop the division at season's end.
What can we expect from the Buccaneers this week as they travel to Carolina to battle the Panthers?
Well, one thing is certain. You're going to get a pissed off team and a pissed off Tom Brady. The timing of the Bucs' loss to New Orleans doesn't bode well for Carolina, but conversely the Panthers are as equally frustrated after falling just short in attempt to defeat the Kansas City Chiefs.
The one thing Tampa Bay is going to put an emphasis on this week is running the ball and doing so early and often. They rushed the ball a total of five times against the Saints, which is an all-time low for an NFL game. A lot of that had to do with them falling behind early and being forced to put it in the air, but I would imagine they are going to get Ronald Jones II and Leonard Fournette in a groove against a Panthers' run defense that has struggled all season long. This will help Tom Brady relax and not feel like the weight of the world is on his shoulders.
Defensively, the Bucs are much better than what they put on tape Sunday night. They allowed 420 total yards of offense and allowed the Saints to convert 9 of 14 third down opportunities. With Christian McCaffrey likely out this week for the Panthers, Tampa is going to place their focus on getting to Teddy Bridgewater and bring exotic blitzes that will confuse an underperforming offensive line.
The Panthers need to focus on theirselves this week and concentrate on the areas that they need to improve in. If they tweak some things, they could hang around and find a way to beat the Buccaneers. Stay tuned for our offensive and defensive keys to the game which will be released over the next day or so.
You can follow us for future coverage by clicking "Follow" on the top righthand corner of the page. Also, be sure to like us on Facebook & Twitter:
Facebook - @PanthersOnSI