Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Matchup Preview (9/20/20): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)
The 0-1 Carolina Panthers will head to Tampa to take on the 0-1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Carolina is coming off of a narrow week one loss, falling 34-30 to the Las Vegas Raiders. While the offense was sharp, the defense didn’t get the job done. Meanwhile, The Tom Brady experience outside of New England has started 0-1. Tampa Bay lost in New Orleans to the Saints 34-23. A few Brady interceptions turned the tide of the game and sent the Bill Belichick truthers into their victory dances. Both teams are looking to bring their record back to .500 at 1-1, which results in considerably higher playoff chances than beginning the season 0-2. For odds movement and full matchup history, visit the Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Matchup Page.
Date: Sunday, September 20th, 2020
Time: 12:00 PM CT
Location: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida
TV Coverage: FOX
Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Live Stream
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Carolina Panthers: Dennis Daley (ankle) Q, Donte Jackson (toe) Q, Kawann Short (foot) Q, Yetur Gross-Matos (eye) Q, Pharoh Cooper (ribs) Q, Shaq Thompson (groin) Q, Stephen Weatherly (hamstring) Q
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Anthony Auclair (calf) Q, Mike Evans (hamstring) Q, Chris Godwin (concussion) Q, Donovan Smith (knee) Q, Jordan Whitehead (elbow) Q
Carolina Panthers Analysis
The Matt Rhule and Teddy Bridgewater era in Carolina started with a devastating loss in week one against the Las Vegas Raiders. Ultimately, the Panthers showcased precisely what was predicted for them: A solid offensive group, and a lackluster defense.
Carolina finished 2019 with the 20th-most points scored, featuring an offense that revolved entirely around star running back Christian McCaffrey. In the offseason, Ron Rivera was replaced with offensive-minded Matt Rhule at head coach, and the Cam Newton (and Kyle Allen) era in Carolina finally drew to a close as they cut the former MVP and brought in Teddy Bridgewater. While they lost long-time tight end Greg Olsen, they signed speedy wide receiver Robby Anderson. The result was a very efficient week one of offense. As a team, the Panthers posted nearly 400 total yards, 260 yards passing, and 128 on the ground. They converted on seven of 13 third-down chances and scored touchdowns on two out of their three red zone opportunities. The offensive line surrendered only one sack and the offense as a whole did not turn the ball over. Bridgewater threw a 75-yard touchdown to Robby Anderson, and McCaffrey picked up right where he left off in 2019, scoring twice on the ground. Despite 30 points and a promising day offensively, the defense left much to be desired.
After giving up more points than anyone other than the Dolphins in 2019 and watching a large list of veteran defensive pieces depart, the Panthers used all seven of their 2020 draft picks on defensive players. So far, those rookies didn’t seem to turn the tide on one of the league’s worst defenses. On Sunday, the Raiders led in time of possession, didn’t surrender any turnovers, converted on six of 11 third-down chances, and put up 34 points on nearly 400 yards of offense. Three of their four trips to the red zone resulted in a touchdown. Derek Carr completed 22 of his 30 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown without being sacked, while Josh Jacobs eclipsed well over 100 combined yards of offense to go along with his three touchdowns on the ground. Week two won’t get any easier facing Tom Brady and company. Carolina’s offense will need to bring their A-game to keep up with Tampa Bay’s high-powered offense.
Carolina Panthers Depth Chart
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Analysis:
Bill Belichick gets the first laugh of the post Patriots dynasty era of the NFL, securing a win with Cam Newton as his new starting quarterback while Tom Brady and the Buccaneers fell short against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday. There’s no shame in losing to the Saints, and the Buccaneers are likely still optimistic moving forward on both sides of the ball.
The Tampa Bay offense, with the addition of Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski, LeSean McCoy, and Leonard Fournette, posted 23 points on three touchdowns and a field goal (and a failed two-point attempt). Brady completed 23 of his 36 passes for 239 yards, with two touchdowns and two interceptions, both of which head coach Bruce Arians put on Brady after the game. When Mike Evans regains full health, Brady has an impressive list of pass-catching options at his disposal, including Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Scotty Miller, OJ Howard, Cameron Brate, and Rob Gronkowski. One aspect that New England generally excelled in with Brady was the running game, which wasn’t effective on Sunday for Tampa. As a team, Tampa Bay rushed 26 times for 86 yards, a pedestrian rate of 3.3 yards-per-carry. Perhaps a more intriguing aspect of Tampa Bay’s loss on Sunday was their much anticipated defensive unit.
While all eyes were on Tom Brady, the defense of Tampa Bay has been a topic of discussion throughout the offseason. While their final points allowed in 2019 indicated otherwise, the defense filled with talent began to show signs of life late in the season. On Sunday, only 14 of New Orlean’s 34 points came on offensive drives starting outside of Tampa Bay territory. Take away a pick-six from Tampa’s offense, and a second interception that gave New Orleans the ball at the Tampa 35-yard-line, the Buccaneers defense was much better than the final score indicated. First, they surrendered only 82 yards rushing on 34 attempts, equal to a yards-per-carry rate of 2.4. Additionally, Brees’ 18 completions on 30 attempts went for only 160 yards, which equals a pedestrian 5.3 yards-per-attempt. Any time you manage to hold Michael Thomas to three catches for 17 yards, you’ve done something incredibly well. Week two against an efficient Panthers offense will shed more light on the legitimacy of the Buccaneers’ defense hype train that picked up steam during the offseason.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Depth Chart
Betting Corner Bucs -8
Spread: Buccaneers -8
Moneyline: Panthers + 310, Buccaneers -400
Last week, the lines bet against Tom Brady, which did not happen often during his tenure in New England. This week, however, Brady and the Buccaneers are favored big at home. The line opened at Tampa Bay -8. Keep in mind these are monumentally different teams than the two that split the season series in 2019. Brady, at home, against a defense that surrendered 34 points to the Raiders in week one, is a favorable matchup on paper. Tampa Bay’s defense is also much stingier than the one Christian McCaffrey and Teddy Bridgewater faced against the Raiders as well.
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Daily Fantasy Picks
Ronald Jones II
Carolina allowed a top-overall running back performance to Josh Jacobs in week one: 93 yards rushing, three rushing touchdowns, and four catches for 46 yards. Ronald Jones carried the ball 17 times in week one for 66 yards, adding in two catches for 16 yards. He also had a potential goal-line opportunity vultured away when Brady snuck it in from the two-yard line. Jones is not going to get as much work as Jacobs typically gets, but the combination of his price and positive matchup makes him an intriguing fantasy option for week two. Currently, on a $50,000 budget on Draft Kings, RoJo is only $5200.
It feels an awful lot as if Scotty Miller was developed inside of a lab to give Brady another crafty receiver to dink-and-dunk targets to all game long. He saw very limited action in 10 games in 2019, but has emerged as Tampa Bay’s third wide receiver and a presumable favorite of legend Tom Brady. With Mike Evans limited due to injury, Miller was tied for second in targets with 6, finishing with five catches for 73 yards in week one against the Saints. Chris Godwin and Mike Evans will cost a fortune every week, and if Evans is limited yet again, Scotty Miller will be another great budget option against a vulnerable Panthers defense. Currently, Miller is $4100 on a $50,000 budget, compared to $7000 for Godwin, and $6400 for Evans on Draft Kings.
Continuing with the budget-friendly options, consider Robby Anderson in week two. DJ Moore led the team in targets with 9, but Samuel and Anderson both shared the second-most with eight, and McCaffrey only received four. It’s clear that Carolina intends to use Robby Anderson, who took advantage of his 8 targets to the tune of six catches, 115 yards, and a touchdown. With such a strong performance in week one, Carolina will look to give a similar opportunity to Anderson in week two. Additionally, Carolina’s week two opponent Tampa Bay shut down top-receiver Michael Thomas in week one, which led to more targets for the secondary option, Emmanuel Sanders. DJ Moore might be a safer choice week-to-week, but is much more expensive than Anderson is. Currently, on a $50,000 budget on Draft Kings, Robby Anderson is $5200 compared to $6300 for DJ Moore.
I prefer to recommend cheaper options, but Christian McCaffrey nearly cannot miss. McCaffrey once again was an opportunity machine, touching the ball 26 times in week one. He posted 96 rushing yards, 38 receiving yards, and two touchdowns on the ground. Expect nothing different in week two against a Buccaneers team that allowed 99 total yards and two touchdowns to Alvin Kamara in week one.