POWER SPORTS' *10* NFC South BEST OF THE BEST (THURSDAY!)
Tampa Bay vs. Carolina,
09/12/2019 20:20 EDT,
Score: 20 - 14
Point Spread: +7/-113 Tampa Bay
10* Tampa Bay (8:20 ET): Both teams are coming off Week 1 losses here. The Buccaneers could have beaten San Francisco, but instead lost 31-17 in a game where two Jameis Winston interceptions were returned for touchdowns. It was a very sloppy game that saw three total touchdowns scored by the defense (one by TB) and FIVE nullified due to penalties. Meanwhile, don't be fooled by the closeness of Carolina's 30-27 loss to the Rams at home. They never led and were down double digits most of the way. Both teams desperately want to avoid an 0-2 hole and I think this is far too many points to lay on a short week for Carolina. Go w/ the dog.
I had BOTH of these teams improving this year. One week in, they each have some work to do. I outlined the Panthers' path for improvement in my analysis last week. It had a lot to do w/ their record in close games over the L2 seasons. Two years ago, they were quite good in them. Last year, not so much. Well, last week's result definitely mirrored the second half of last season as they dropped to 0-6 their L6 games decided by seven points or less. But the reality is they were lucky to even finish that close as they punched in a garbage time TD in the final two minutes to make it 30-27. Going back to last season, a big issue w/ the offense has been Cam Newton's failure to "go deep." His longest completion in Wk 1 went for only 17 yds and he only attempted one pass of 20+ yds.
Ultimately, I think Bruce Arians will have the Bucs improved. Whether or not he has the right pieces right now is up for debate. But the Bucs offense, which did gain a ton of yds last year, should have been better in Week 1. A lot of that falls on Winston and the interceptions. Look for him to clean up those mistakes here. The Bucs' defense did its job week, holding the 49ers to just 256 total yards. In the end, I view the market as being too one-sided on this matchup as the underdog is going to be every bit as desperate as the favorite. 10* Tampa Bay