The Panthers lead the all-time series 12-8, but Tampa Bay and Carolina have split the season series in three of the past five years. Tampa Bay is 3-6 at home all-time against the Panthers and won the first game of the 2010 series, 20-7 at Carolina. The Panthers won both meetings of the 2009 season, 28-21, in Tampa, with the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the game, and the second meeting by a score of 16-6 in Charlotte. Both teams team won at home in 2008, including a 27-3 Buccaneers victory in Tampa (10/12/08) in the first meeting and a 38-23 Buccaneers loss in Charlotte (12/8/08) on Monday Night Football. In 2007, Tampa Bay defeated the Panthers in Carolina 20-7 and then fell 31-23 in the last week of the regular season with Tampa Bay resting most of its starters to prepare for the playoffs. In 2006, the Panthers won 26-24 at Tampa Bay (9/24/06) and 24-10 at Carolina (11/13/06). The teams split the two meetings in 2005: Carolina won 34-14 at Tampa Bay (11/6/05) and the Buccaneers prevailed 20-10 at Carolina (12/11/05). Tampa Bay won three in a row from 1998-02 and started the series 4-1 before losing five consecutive meetings from 2003-05. Tampa Bay won both meetings in 2002, a 12-9 win at Carolina (10/27/02) and a 23-10 win at home (11/17/02). The Buccaneers were Carolina’s fourth opponent in the Panthers’ inaugural season in 1995, and Tampa Bay earned a 20-13 victory at Clemson Memorial Stadium (10/1/95). The following year, Carolina downed Tampa Bay 24-0 (12/1/96) on its way to the NFC Championship Game in just its second year of existence. The Buccaneers captured the last meeting prior to the 2002 season, 16-13, in 1998 at home. Tampa Bay knocked off the Panthers in Charlotte on the way to each of its division-best three NFC South titles in 2002, 2005 and 2007.
Date: Sunday, November 14, 2010
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Site: Raymond James Stadium (65,890)
2010 Records: Tampa Bay 5-3, Carolina 1-7
Network Television: FOX
Play-by-Play: Dick Stockton, Analyst: Charles Davis, Jim Mora Sideline: Laura Okmin
Bucs Radio: US 103.5, flagship station (103.5 FM, 620 AM)
Play-by-Play: Gene Deckerhoff, Color: Dave Moore, Sideline: T.J. Rives
Last Game: Tampa Bay lost at Atlanta 27-21; Carolina lost vs. New Orleans 34-3
The Panthers lead the all time series 12-8 (Regular Season)
SERIES BY THE NUMBERS
Overall Regular Season Series:………………… Carolina leads series, 12-8
Home Record vs. Carolina Panthers:……………………………………….3-6
Road Record vs. Carolina Panthers:………………………………………..5-6
Current Streak:…………………………………. Buccaneers, one game (2010)
Buccaneers Longest Streak:……………………..Three games (1998-2002)
Panthers Longest Streak:………………………………Five games (2003-05)
Regular Season Point Total:………………. Buccaneers 346 – Panthers 390
Most Points, Buccaneers:………………………. 27, Buccaneers 27-3 (2008)
Most Points, Panthers:……………………………. 38, Panthers 38-23 (2008)
Most Points, both teams:………………………… 61, Panthers 38-23 (2008)
Fewest Points, Buccaneers:…………………………0, Panthers 24-0 (1996)
Fewest Points, Panthers:………………………… 3, Buccaneers 27-3 (2008)
Fewest Points, both teams:…………. 21, twice, last Panthers 12-9 (2003)
What to Watch
Legarrette Blount vs Panthers Front Seven
Looking for a spark in the running game, the Buccaneers turned to undrafted rookie free agent RB LeGarrette Blount. After just three games in which he has seen significant action, Blount has already made an impact and ranks among the league leaders in rushing for rookie running backs.
He is currently second in touchdowns (3), fourth in rushing yards, second in yards per carry (4.8) and second in yards per game (53.6) among rookie running backs. He also has the longest rush (48 yards) of any rookie this season.
Josh Freeman vs Stingy Panthers Pass Defense
This season, Freeman has been Mr. Third-Down, completing 45 of 71 pass attempts for 516 yards, one touchdown and a completion percentage of 63.3% with one interception. Of those 45 completions 27 have resulted in the Bucs picking up a first down. Freeman also currently ranks fourth in the NFC in fourth quarter passer rating with a minimum of 30 attempts. His five interceptions are tied for the fourth fewest by any quarterback with at least 200 pass attempts this season.
This season, Freeman has lead the team to convert at least 40.0 percent of their third-down attempts in six of the first eight games, with five consecutive to start the season. It marked the first time in franchise history the team has had five consecutive games with at least a 40.0 percent third-down conversion rate.
On the year, he currently ranks sixth in the NFC in third down passer rating and has thrown just one interception on a third down play. His legs have been just as productive on third downs, as 12 of Freeman’s 29 runs this year have come on third down, with nine of those resulting in first downs. Six of his 12 third down scrambles have come on third-and-nine or longer. In just eight games, Freeman has already converted two third-and-11s, four third-and-fours, a third-and-one, a third-and-nine and a third-and-16 by running.
Freeman has also been smart with the football this season, ranking third in the NFC and tied for fourth in the NFL with the fewest interceptions thrown with a minimum of 125 passing attempts.
Mike Williams vs Panthers Secondary
In this year’s draft, 12 wide receivers were taken ahead of 2010 fourth-round draft pick (101st overall) WR Mike Williams. Though Williams wasn’t drafted highly, his talent and production on the field is leading some experts to consider him the “steal of the draft” and a possible Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate. Through his first eight games as a pro, Williams has already been up for NFL Rookie of the Week five times, all but one after a Buccaneers victory.
Williams currently has the sixth-most receiving yards in the NFC and 12th most in the NFL. Among rookie receivers, Williams is currently second in receptions (36), first in receiving yards (559) and first in receiving touchdowns (5). He is averaging 92.0 receiving yards per game over his last three contests. He has a touchdown catch in each of his last two contests, giving him five on the year — the most by any Buccaneer rookie over the team’s first eight games in franchise history.
DE Greg Hardy (concussion)
RB Jonathan Stewart (concussion)
RB Tyrell Sutton (ankle)
RB DeAngelo Williams (foot)
LB Nic Harris (foot)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
DE Kyle Moore (shoulder)
FB Earnest Graham (hamstring)
DT Ryan Sims (knee)
WR Sammie Stroughter (foot)
LB Quincy Black (ankle)
C Jeff Faine (quadriceps)
T Jeremy Trueblood (knee)
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)
Panthers Head Coach: John Fox
Panthers Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Davidson
Panthers Defensive Coordinator: Ron Meeks
Panthers Special Teams Coach: Jeff Rodgers
CAROLINA PANTHERS OFFENSE
Overall: 32nd (244.4 ypg)
Rushing: 26th (90.8 ypg)
Passing: 32nd (153.6 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 29th (25)
Points Scored: 32nd (11.0 ppg)
CAROLINA PANTHERS DEFENSE
Overall: 11th (315.0 ypg)
Rushing: 25th (124.8 ypg)
Passing: 5th (190.3 ypg)
Sacks: 25th (12)
Points Allowed: 22nd (23.0 ppg)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS OFFENSE
Overall: 21st (316.3 ypg)
Rushing: 19th (103.8 ypg)
Passing: 19th (212.5 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 17th (17)
Points Scored: 20th (19.6 ppg)
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE
Overall: 24th (360.5 ypg)
Rushing: 30th (147.0 ypg)
Passing: 12th (213.5 ypg)
Sacks: 32nd (6)
Points Allowed: 25th (23.8 ppg)
Buc Central’s Prognostication:
As always we are not advocating gambling based on our views of the game, especially considering we typically are inclined to make such educated guesses using are heart rather the any rational thought applied to picking. We are merely giving an opinion of who we think has the best chance at securing a victory.