Panthers vs Bucs NFL Football Spread/Handicapping
With Cam Newton leading the way the Carolina Panthers were among the most improved teams of 2011.
Carolina Panthers vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sunday September 9
Raymond James Stadium – Tampa, FL
Moneyline: Carolina -135, Tampa Bay +115
Spread: Carolina -1
Are they ready to take yet another step closer to the playoffs or are they going to be static, having one of those years where improvement isn’t measure in wins and losses.
The opener is a great test with a road game against a familiar opponent also looking to make a statement early.
You don’t want to consider the Panthers a one man team but is there any player more vital to the success of their team than Cam Newton? He was better than I expected last season and I think he can continue to improve if they surround him with the right weapons and scheme.
Really though Carolina is hoping for a massive improvement on defense this year. Jon Beason is back at linebacker and draft pick Luke Kuechly has the look of a 10 year veteran in the middle of that defense.
The Panthers dominated in taking both games against Tampa last season. They covered easily both times but it should be noted that both contests were in the final month when it was obvious the Buccaneers were just mailing it in.
This one should be a really physical contest decided in the 4th quarter which might favour the home team especially if it is hot. As you can tell by the line it is really anyone’s game.
Schiano achieved no small feat in turning Rutgers into an actual D1 football program but history is littered with college coaches who couldn’t hack it in the pro game.
Despite that I like his approach and think Tampa will improve. Perhaps showing us in week 1.
The toughest question is whether QB Josh Freeman is truly the guy to lead this team.
As good as he looked two years ago he looked downright awful last year. He is a good athlete (not Cam Newton good) and seems to have the tools but he won’t be asked to do as much this season.
Schiano definitely wants to establish the run but might find that more this week challenging against an improved Carolina defense.
This is essentially a coin flip spread but with the Bucs at home it indicates that the linesmakers think there is a real gap between these two teams.
It will be interesting to see how this one moves, if at all, between now and kickoff, especially with it being an afternoon start so people might chase or tease with it.
Go with whatever team you think will win regardless of what happens to the number. I like TB to start the season strong.
Spread Pick: Tampa Bay +1
O/U Pick: Under
Score Prediction: Tampa Bay 24 – Carolina 21