CHARLOTTE, N.C. (FNN SPORTS) – After greeting Week 1 with losses, the Buccaneers and the Panthers will both be hungry for a win tonight in Charlotte. The odds are standing favorable for the Panthers, but here are some things to look for in tonight’s matchup before leaning in one direction over another.
The Panthers have an edge on the Bucs with a dominant running game in Christian McCaffery, who rushed for 128 yards and had 81 receiving yards against the Rams’ strong defense in Week 1. As seen in the Bucs versus 49ers Week 1 game, the Bucs defense let up too many rushing yards, so if Tampa’s defense struggles with this again, McCaffery is a more relentless running back than San Francisco’s two running backs. Although when comparing the Bucs offense to the Panthers offense, the Bucs have more weapons at their disposal with a healthier Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, Peyton Barber, Ronald Jones II, and potentially Tanner Hudson, who is a new addition to the Bucs offense, yet shown himself to be a very athletic and versatile option for Tampa Bay.
Tonight will be a huge indicator on Winston’s developments at quarterback and a test for the offensive line. Carolina doesn’t have the same insane front-line pressure on defense as the 49ers did, but they have the Bucs former team captain, Gerald McCoy, leading the Panther defense and key players Shaq Thompson and James Bradberry. The Panthers defense allowed the 6th lowest passer rating in Week 1 and those stats against the Rams is significant. For the Bucs offense to have a progressive chance, Winston’s many weapons will have to help, and the running game will have to be more than just present but dominantly effective.
We will see which team is more hungry to take this win tonight at 8:20pm in Charlotte.
Kasey Hudson is a Florida National News sports contributor. | firstname.lastname@example.org