Posted in General News

Game Preview: Bucs vs Panthers Week 13

by Staff Report on December 5, 2009

The Panthers lead the all-time series 11-7, but Tampa Bay and Carolina have split the season series in three of the past four years. The Panthers won the first meeting this season, 28-21 in Tampa, with the game-winning touchdown in the final minute of the game. Last season each team won at home, including a 27-3 Buccaneers victory in Tampa (10/12/08) in the first meeting and a 38-23 Buccaneers loss in Carolina (12/8/08) on Monday Night Football. Tampa Bay is 4-5 on the road all-time against the Panthers. In 2007, Tampa Bay defeated the Panthers in Carolina 20-7 in their first matchup despite losing Cadillac Williams during the game. RBs Michael Pittman and Earnest Graham picked up the workload and rushed for a combined 138 yards and one touchdown on 32 carries. 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 in Tampa. 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.

GAME INFORMATION
Date: Sunday, December 6, 2009
Kickoff: 1:00 p.m. ET
Site: Bank of America Stadium (73,778)
2009 Records: Tampa Bay 1-10, Carolina 4-7
Network Television: FOX
Play-by-Play: Ron Pitts, Analyst: John Lynch
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 20-17; Carolina lost at N.Y. Jets 17-6
Next Game: Tampa Bay vs. N.Y. Jets (12/13); Carolina at New England (12/13)

Key Match-Ups
Aqib Talib vs Steve Smith
It seems like every week Talib is matched up against an explosive receiver, but with Talib potentially sidelined with a hamstring injury who ever replaces him in the lineup will have a stiff test trying to cover Smith all game long. If Smith gets loose it could be a long day for the Bucs front seven as the Panthers are sure to use a heavy dose of play action and then feed their two pronged rushing attack to carry them to victory.

Bucs Front Seven vs Panthers Ground Game
The front seven showed signs of life last week after switching back to a one gap scheme. But the Panthers present another challenge averaging 151 yards a game on the ground. Many fans are still trying to figure out if it was entirely the scheme or the players who should shoulder the brunt of the criticism for the demise of a once proud defense. It should become a little bit clearer after the dust settles this week of whether or not it was scheme or players that was the true culprit for the collapse of the defense.

Josh Freeman vs Panthers Pass Defense
Freeman will have his work cut out for him against the Panthers third ranked pass defense. The Panthers are allowing 181 yards per game through the air. Freeman will need to show patience’s and take what the Panthers give him and limit mistakes for the Bucs to have a chance this Sunday. After a solid performance against the Falcons this will be a critical week for the rookie to gauge his development after a dismal week 11, he bounced back to have a solid week, in week 12, now lets see what his play looks like in week 13 to see if he is taking the baby steps needed to truly be the future of the franchise.

INJURY REPORT
CAROLINA PANTHERS
OUT
QB Jake Delhomme (finger)
DOUBTFUL
WR Dwayne Jarrett (ankle)
DE Charles Johnson (pectoral)
CB Captain Munnerlyn (concussion)
QUESTIONABLE
RB DeAngelo Williams (ankle)
PROBABLE
G Mackenzy Bernadeau (knee)
LB Na’il Diggs (ribs)
RB Brad Hoover (ankle)
WR Muhsin Muhammad (knee)
RB Jonathan Stewart (achilles)

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
DOUBTFUL
DE Michael Bennett (toe)
WR Michael Clayton (knee)
QUESTIONABLE
DT Roy Miller (ankle)
RB Clifton Smith (knee)
CB Aqib Talib (hamstring)
PROBABLE
T Donald Penn (knee)
WR Maurice Stovall (thigh)
DE Stylez G White (hand)
TE Kellen Winslow (knee)

ENEMY COACHES
Panthers Head Coach: John Fox
Panthers Offensive Coordinator: Jeff Davidson
Panthers Defensive Coordinator: Ron Meeks
Panthers Special Teams Coach: Danny Crossman

STATISTICAL RANKINGS:
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS OFFENSE
Overall: 29th (274.8 ypg)
Rushing: 23rd (98.2 ypg)
Passing: 25th (176.6 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 15th (24)
Points Scored: 28th (16.5 ppg)

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS DEFENSE
Overall: 26th (370.9 ypg)
Rushing: 30th (160.4 ypg)
Passing: 11th (210.5 ypg)
Sacks: 17th (23)
Points Allowed: 31st (28.5 ppg)

CAROLINA PANTHERS OFFENSE
Overall: 20th (322.1 ypg)
Rushing: 4th (151.5 ypg)
Passing: 28th (170.6 ypg)
Sacks Allowed: 18th (25)
Points Scored: 23rd (18.1 ppg)

CAROLINA PANTHERS DEFENSE

Overall: 11th (312.7 ypg)
Rushing: 26th (131.5 ypg)
Passing: 3rd (181.3 ypg)
Sacks: 22nd (21)
Points Allowed: 22nd (23.3 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.

BUCS 15
PANTHERS 19

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